I was the one upset. My daughter had not shed one tear and hadn’t even noticed the tears of regret still pooling in my eyes.
I was sitting at my desk when I had a funny feeling I’d messed up. The more I thought about it, the more I was sure I’d made a mistake. I called the school secretary and sure enough, the after school party had started at 3:30, not 4:30 like I’d thought.
With a quick word to my boss, I rushed to after school daycare, whisked my daughter away, and headed back to her school. I wanted my little girl to receive her special award for a writing contest she’d placed in, but by the time we arrived the awards had already been handed out and the party was over.
As her teacher gave her the award without pomp and circumstance, I stood by wondering if they had one waiting for me too. It would have been called the Worst Mom of the Week award. After leftover cookies and punch, I let her take another cookie with us and I drove away from the party teary, apologizing over and over to my daughter for messing up.
“It’s okay, Mommy,” was her reply. I glanced in the rearview mirror to see her gazing out the window at a puppy in someone’s yard as she munched on her cookie. Her small features were calm, with a little smile dancing at the corners of her crumb speckled mouth.
“I’m still proud of you honey,” I said, not believing she was really okay. In the mirror I saw her nod her head before twisting around to catch one more glance at the puppy.
“I know, Mommy, but can we have ice cream when we get home?” When she turned back around, her smiling face was hopeful, not sad.
Laughter bubbled out of me. I couldn’t help it as I mused at how quickly my child’s attention had changed. In fact, as I reflected on the whole event, she’d been full of smiles the whole time and more focused on her cookie than she had been about missing the party.
I was the one upset. My daughter had not shed one tear and hadn’t even noticed the tears of regret still pooling in my eyes. All she cared about was having Mommy with her and about what we would do together next. The opportunist that she was, she had only requested ice cream.
Desperate circumstances call for desperate measures, right? So I did what any busy mom would do in my situation and I pulled out all the stops. Who cares she’d had two cookies already or that it was close to dinner time? I didn’t wait until we got home either. Instead I took her to Dairy Queen.
I let her get chocolate syrup and two kinds of sprinkles, the chocolaty kind and the rainbow kind, and we ate inside instead of speeding through the drive through. I had one too, even though I bypassed the sprinkles, because she insisted I needed ice cream, as well. She had a point. Ice cream is a healing substance!
Yes, the extra sprinkles were out of guilt, but they covered my mistakes just fine. As I brushed them from the corners of her cute little mouth, her smile told me she knew she was the center of our little party.
What she didn’t know was I would have let her get seconds with triple sprinkles to keep that smile on her face, but she didn’t even ask. The ice cream wasn’t really the big thing for her. It was having ice cream with me that she’d really wanted.