Making My Daughter Proud
I had a moment I was not so proud of recently. I lost my cool in front of my daughter, and I felt bad that I wasn’t setting a good example. The guilt stuck with me all day long, until she absolved me of it that evening. Here’s how it all went down.
I was driving my daughter to summer camp in the morning. I time it precisely to get her there in time while still getting myself to work
in time to get a decent parking spot by 9:00 a.m. Between 8:45 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. the camp has a drop-off line. While I once feared the drop-off line, I have come to view it as a beautiful thing. Long as it may be sometimes, as a working mom trying to get to the office, I know I will at least get out of there at a decent time without constantly having to tell my daughter “no I can’t look at this or that, no I can’t stay 5 more minutes, no I can’t schedule a play date with your new friend at this moment, I need to get to work” as I drop her off.
Anyway, to get to the point, yesterday the line was long, but moving along as it should. There were about four or five cars ahead of me and an equal number behind when a delivery van pulled out from the spot behind me to pull into a drop-off spot that had just been made available. The van, which delivers lunches that parents have the option to order, flouted the well-established rules and skipped ahead of many cars, including mine. When my rightful turn to move ahead in the line came, I passed the woman unloading her lunches and confronted her. “Hey!” I yelled, several times before she acknowledged me. “There’s a line here and you just cut it!” “I have a schedule to keep,” she sneered back. I lost it then and there and shouted back, “You don’t think the rest of us have a schedule to keep? You don’t think I have to get to work? You don’t think the rest of these parents waiting their turn have to get to work?” I also said something (much more considerately) to the counselor who met my daughter at the car door about what the van driver had done. As I pulled away, I felt really guilty. I knew I was on the “right side” but I don’t typically act so rudely in front of my kids. I played it back in my mind and I couldn’t remember if, in the heat of things, I had even bid my daughter farewell. I wasn’t setting a good example in front of my impressionable 2nd grader.
The situation weighed on me all day. I met my daughter at camp for her Family Fun Night and when we headed home in the car that evening, I told her I was sorry for how I acted that morning. “I’m not,” she smiled. “That lady did something wrong.” “You weren’t embarrassed that I yelled at her?” I asked. My daughter’s smile grew 10 times brighter as she said, “No way! I was proud of you.” I gave her a huge hug and was so proud of her for being proud of me. And I realized that modeling morals sometimes trumps modeling behavior.