Parenting: That Moment When It All Pays Off

So, Tuesday evening, Jon had some “continuing education” that involved him hanging out at Boulevard Brewing, drinking beer, and watching the Royals game.  Yes, he really will be getting credit toward his license for doing this.  No, I do not understand why he’s a credentialed professional either…  Anyway, the unfairness and disparity that runs rampant in our chosen fields aside, this is how I ended up taking Maddie to Girl Scouts.*

While I was sitting in the back of the multi-purpose room, trying to keep Gabbie entertained and somewhat quiet, one of the other moms approached me, and said, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you…”  Now, immediately, my “mom” sense go up to about an 8.  Are we talking playdate?  Is this about school politics?  Did my kid DO something to her kid?  Do I know which kid is hers?  (I do, thank god.)  She begins by telling me that the other day at lunch, my daughter, her daughter, and some other girls were sitting at the lunch table, and for some reason that is not entirely clear (and wouldn’t inform this story in the slightest even if we did know) one of the girls in the group called her daughter “fat.”  I KNOW.  Yes, these are first graders we’re talking about.  Yes, that is reprehensible.  It is the worst.  My heart breaks for this little girl because you know she is never forgetting that moment, and I want to take this other little girl aside and give her a little talk peppered with words like “body shaming,” “feminism,” “sisterhood,” and “what the hell is wrong with the adults** in your life that you think an insult like that is ever warranted?!”  But, I was not there, and as usual, I digress.***

Now, here comes the moment.  THE moment.  The moment when you realize that all of the stuff you’ve been trying to teach your kids, all of the morality lessons you’ve been trying to instill, all of the “good person” you’ve been trying to pour in–it’s actually, for real, been taking root, and you’ve managed to turn out a kid who, at least this once, does the right thing.  Because Maddie, she jumped right in with a “Don’t say that about my friend!  That’s not a nice thing to say, and you shouldn’t talk to people like that.”

These are the parenting moments you live for.  (Well, these and snuggles and random “I love you”s.  Also bedtime.  You live for that, too.)  If Jon had been there after this story was told, this would have been the moment when we pulled off the perfectly coordinated no-look fist bump.  Because damn: We did good.  This one thing, we got right.  Will Maddie always be this morally straightforward?  No, of course not.  Is she someday going to say something to someone that’s going to verbally punch them in the gut?  Most likely, for all I know she already has, and it’s just never been reported to me.  She’s a girl, too, remember, and girls?  We’re mean.  We don’t need fisticuffs–we have the verbal bitchslap.  But I’m glad to see we’re heading down the right road, that not only did she not join in the teasing or simply look the other way, she said something.  I’m so proud of her.  I’m proud of her for standing up for her friend, and it’s gratifying to know that all of the work that Jon and I, and all the other influential adults in her life, have put in hasn’t been for naught.  Nice job, lady.  It won’t always be this easy, and the right and wrong won’t always be this black and white, but I hope you continue to articulate what you think is right.  Tactfully, of course, though, if at all possible.  After all, we are ladies.****

Almost as awesome?  Already having the perfect picture for this post.  #alliterationFTW

Almost as awesome? Already having the perfect picture for this post. #alliterationFTW

* Jon usually takes her.  “But he is not  a girl,” you say . 1) How very astute of you.  2) This matters why?  3) I take her to almost everything else.  4) I apologize for assuming you’re an ignoramus.  Probably you’re not.  I just get tired of everyone awarding him “Best Dad EVAAAR!” status for simply involving himself in his child’s activities.  He’d probably have her in boy scouts if he could.

**  To give her parents credit you should note that a) I’m not entirely sure who they are, and b) perhaps they would be shocked and horrified that this particular term was used (I know I would be).  It’s not like we don’t have most of society to teach little girls that fat = bad, so it’s possible that she got there all on her own.

***  That should probably be my next tattoo, like across the back of my hand or something, “but I digress….”  It could serve as my constant reminder to shut my damn mouth.  Also, aren’t you glad I put this down here instead of in parentheses in the middle of my paragraph?

****  Enter this in the category of “Things no one ever says to her mother” who had to restrain herself from typing “f’ing ladies” and could not manage to do so in the footnotes.  I may literally be wearing pearls as I type this, but obviously, they’re not making me any classier.  (Like you would want that anyway.)