There I was again. Looking down at the big brown eyes. Those big brown eyes were starting back at me on the verge of filling with tears.
She knew that she was caught… red handed & blue faced. The evidence was all around her: paintbrush in the bathroom next to the water-soaked face-paint palette that we had used a few months earlier for a football game. Yet, when Becky and I asked her if she had painted her face, her answer wasn’t “yes” or “I did”… instead, she said that she looked pretty, because she had turned into a Ninja. (Probably not two words that I would think to put together: Pretty & Ninja, but it suited Allie.)
I looked back at her tear-filled eyes and had to hold back the snicker that was about to escape from my own lips. We face this problem, as parents. We want to laugh at most of things that they do, those silly little things that will define them, but we need to hold it back. We want to chuckle and tell them that they are hilarious, but we know that we need to teach them a lesson.
The mess in the bathroom… didn’t matter.
The washing the face-paint off of her face… didn’t matter.
The paint that ruined her shirt… didn’t matter.
The look on her face that told me that she felt like the most beautiful “ninja” in the world… that mattered.
We handled it like any parent probably would. “You do look beautiful, but you should have asked us for help. You made a very big mess and you have paint on your clothes. If you had asked us, we could have helped you.”
I knew, saying those words, that the tears would roll down her face, smearing her new look. She is a very sensitive child and she doesn’t want to upset us.
The lesson that I learned was that it was OK to not sweat the small stuff. Becky has been trying to teach me that for years, and I am finally starting to get it. It was not a big deal that it was a mess, because she felt beautiful and she was happy.
And in the end, I want my kids to know that what I want most is for them to be Happy. So I taught her this lesson in the most gentle way that I could, without crushing her spirt. Make wiser choices, dear daughter, but always take chances that lead you to happiness.
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