There are many times each week when I wish I could hit the “reset” button on my parenting. It’s rare I feel like I’m getting it right. But yesterday? Yesterday was one of those times when I felt like I might not be falling as far short as I sometimes feel as though I am.
Yesterday, Isabelle and Ari returned from eight days away at my parents’ house. They took my children to their house to give Marc and me the time and space we needed to transition to our new home. (FYI: We moved from Harrisburg to Lancaster on June 21st. My parents knew it would be less challenging to unpack, work, and close on our Harrisburg house without having the kids around. Not only did they take them to their house, but they enrolled both of them — Yes, even little Ari! — in day camp for the week.) It was amazing to have the ability to do what we needed to do without having to entertain and care for our children. My parents deserve a medal. But this post isn’t about them. (Sorry, Mom and Dad!)
My father handed me an envelope not long after my parents arrived at our Lancaster home. “These are from Isabelle’s counselors,” he told me.
I opened an envelope and found two different notes from Isabelle’s counselors printed on note cards. Both were sweet notes expressing how much they’d miss Isabelle since she was leaving the group after just a week. However, inside one of the cards was a index card for Marc and me. The index card not only gave me a glimpse into Isabelle’s life at camp, but one sentence written on the index card turned me speechless. The counselor wrote:
She is one of the most polite kids I have ever met.
Who? My kid? I adore my daughter, but sometimes she can be a bit gauche. (Let me be honest, I did joke around to Marc, later in the day, that I couldn’t imagine how the rest of the kids were behaving if Isabelle was considered the politest.) We teach Isabelle to have good manners in and out of our home, but I don’t always see the transfer of our teaching.
I was touched – truly – that her counselors took the time to write Isabelle notes after a week of knowing her. More than that, I was moved one of them took the extra time to reach out to us — parents living over 100 miles away — to share some reflections about Isabelle. If I could look that counselor in the eyes, I would tell her that her note truly blessed me. When you’re slogging through the daily highs and lows of parenting, it means everything to have someone tell you your kid is treating others kindly. I would never have known if it hadn’t been for her note.
I’ve tucked the notes in my desk drawer. I told Marc I am going to pull out the index card anytime I’m having a challenging parenting day. Because, apparently, I am getting more right than I think I am.