As I pulled up at the stoplight I realized that I didn’t have enough gas in the tank to get me where I needed to be.
“Damn It!” I shouted.
I have this issue where I wait until the last minute to put gas in my tank and then I feel anxious and annoyed because I have to stop for gas and really, I am either too tired (read: lazy) to stop or I’m on a mission because I have somewhere that I need to be.
As I grumble to myself in the front seat, angry because I didn’t bother to stop for gas the night before, I look in the rearview mirror and I see two brown eyes staring back at me.
She’s watching you, I thought.
Not just in my good moments, but in my bad moments as well.
She’s watching me.
My daughter and I are so very different, at least that’s what it looks like on the surface. (My mom would beg to differ) She’s artsy, I can’t draw a straight line. She’s touchy-feely and I love personal space. We bump heads more often than not.
But we’re connected.
Sometimes when I am cleaning up around the house, I’ll hear her little voice say “Can I help, mommy?” I’ll hand her some Clorox wipes and together we’ll go through the house cleaning.
In the car in the mornings when I crank up the music and bust out my dance moves, I can take a peek in my rearview mirror and there she is- bopping her head and singing along.
We run together. We read together. We laugh and we joke.
We’re different, but we are the same. Even though there are so many things that separate us, there are so many things that bring us together- that connect us.
In my moments with her I am reminded that as she’s watching me, I am modeling behavior to her. I am modeling how to react to difficult situations. I am modeling that though you may fight with someone you love, making up with them is an important part of the process too. I am modeling kindness and love and sadness and allofthethings.
Remembering that she is watching me helps me to check myself.
I’m not saying that I won’t feel my feelings, because I am human and that is what humans do. But maybe I will stop and think before I HAVE A MASSIVE OVERREACTION over something like needing gas (when I know that I could’ve prevented that)… clearly I need to work on teaching the kid how to be prepared.
Being a parent is hard and awesome at the same time. More than anything else, being a parent makes me want to be a better person, because I want my kids to be good people. After all, they’re watching me and following my lead.