At school drop off a few mornings ago this adorable little girl who is friends with my kids waited to catch my eye in the car line so she could wave and say hello to me. It was so darn cute I immediately texted her mom (before driving off-never fear!) to say I loved her kid.
A few hours later the mom responded, “me too!”. Just like that. Me too. No questioning my initial statement. (Which I might have done.) No averting the compliment by reminding me that the kid isn’t perfect. (Which I always do.) Just a simple comment that says, “yeah I know she’s pretty great isn’t she?”.
My first thought upon reading this text was how thankful I am that my kids have that woman in their lives.
I am not one to lavish praise on anyone. I give a million compliments, daily, to people (my kids included) who look particularly nice or do a good job at something, but I don’t lavish. While I adore my children, I’m not sure that always comes across. Of course, they know I love them, and I tell them often how proud I am of who they are and what they’ve done. But, adoration? Not so much.
So instead of beating myself up for my pragmatic personality or hoping I’ll change, I’m just focusing on how grateful I am that my kids have other adults in their lives who adore them and show it. Over the years we have cultivated a pretty remarkable group of friends and our kids benefit from it greatly. I am happy to share the job of promoting my children with people who do it differently (and often better) than I.
They need some lavished praise now and again. They need encouragement from people who don’t need to spend time lecturing about good decisions. They need adults who have conversations with them when their dad and I just can’t take the same conversation one more time.
They need people who simply answer, “me too” when faced with a compliment about them. I am so lucky that my friends fill in all the gaps I leave for my kids. I just hope somehow I can return the favor for theirs.
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This is just so perfect, Cristie. I think of it as the Aunty Principle. Everyone needs someone outside the core of her daily life to turn to. When my kids were little, I had a teenage mother’s helper; I became her objective (sort of) outside-the-family source of support and solace. An often underrated “resource” (crude but true word) for our children.