Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Little Bit Broken

Last week, on our way to the gym, Camdyn and I made a stop at my favorite little cupcake store.  Totally counterproductive, but that's the way it works, I guess.  The cupcake store is located right next to a florist shop.  So, to kill some time, we wander in and look around.  Camdyn spies this little Gund stuffed Eagle.  It's cute and she wants it very badly.  I look at the sticker...$12.99.  I tell her that she'll have to earn it. 

We get in the car and we work out details on how she can earn this toy.  I tell her that if she gets stars on her behavior chart for the next two days then she earns the eagle toy.  Thursday she got a star, and Friday, she ended up with a straight face for disruptive/loud voice in the Library.  No toy for Camdyn.

So, this week brings a fresh start and a new goal...two stars in a row earns the toy.  She accomplishes her goal and yesterday on our way to the gym, we buy Camdyn her prized Eagle. 
(Cam is obsessed with birds right now - thank you Rio - and her school mascot is the she is super happy about this stuffie). She is so proud of herself and can't wait to show her teacher.  She talks about it all night long and sleeps with her eagle (named Flower) tucked in neatly beside her.

This morning, I tell Camdyn that she can bring the eagle in and show her teacher, but then the eagle is coming to the truck with me, toys aren't allowed at school.  She was on board with this idea.

We get to school early, she is playing with her eagle and is totally pumped to show her teacher. When the door opens she strolls in with her toy, and 10 other kids, and some parents. She waits patiently for her teacher's attention. She finally taps her on the hand and says "Look - Eagle." Her teacher says, "cute" and then goes back to the conversation she was having with a 9 year old school patrol. Cam stands there for another 2 minutes, waiting to have more of a conversation with her teacher about her eagle. She finally gives up, and walks over to me, half broken hearted because the teacher didn't give her more attention.

::Sidebar:: I don't blame the teacher, she's busy, she has a million things to do in the morning, she has kids and parents coming through the door, she just didn't have time, and I get that, I really do.

BUT - the look on Cam's face killed me. I can still see her...eyes turned down, but trying to put on a smile as she handed me her Eagle to take home. The look of sheer disappointment blanketed her face. So, I said, "She said the eagle was "cute." She liked it!!" Cam just shrugged her shoulders. Then I left.

On the ride to work I was thinking about how something so important to a child is often just tossed aside by adults because we are too busy with our own lives and agendas to see their simple pleasures.
I wonder how many times I have done that same thing to her, only I was too busy to see that look of disappointment wash over her face.  Five times? A hundred times?  I have no idea.

So, I sit here, a little bit broken.   Feeling every bit as disappointed as my little girl was this morning.  I should have walked into her classroom with her (instead of waiting in the hallway) and said "Cam has something special to show you. She's been waiting all night to show you this." 

I should have made it important, because it was important, to my child.

I can't change what happened this morning, and like a good friend told me , "Luckily they [kids] also forgive and forget pretty easily."  She is right, Cam probably shook off her disappointment like a champ after I left the room.

But, me, I'm going to remember this...and the next time I find myself saying "one second" or "in a few minutes" or "not right now."  I'm going to stop and remember the lesson here. 

Time, is not more valuable than her sense of significance. 

She is worth it.

Her accomplishments, her imagination, her stories, and her interests are worth time. 


Ashley Sisk said...

Awww that breaks my heart for her...but I guess that's how things go. :(

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

You are so right. You have me thinking how many times have I done this to my kids and not realized it.

Cole said...

Beautifully said. Mommy is a teacher and knows firsthand how busy it can get - and how many things can be happening at once - but she hopes that she kept those moments of disappointment for her kids to a minimum.

Casey Martinez said...

Mmmm, I know that look so well on a child's face. I have already seen it on D's face when she joyfully waves at a person walking by and they don't even look at her. Yes, so many adults have become callous to the wonder that life holds for young people. Instead of encouraging their imagination and joy we often crush it without even realizing it. Perhaps just a lesson for us to learn as mommys. You are such a good mommy for wanting your little one to be acknowledged and rooted for! I would have love to have gotten excited about her eagle!!

TV's Take said...

What a power post, thank you! I need this reminder when my daughter gives me a faux b-day present etc. At the end of the day I'm sure Cam recovered nicely though

Jennifer said...

What a great perspective on the whoel situation. I am sure it killed you more than it killed her and like you said, she was probably over it within a few minutes. But, thankfully it happened because it gave you a little wake call and now you gave it to us :) By the way, Christopher's school is the Eagles too!

Nessa said...

I am sure she was all right and fine with the world in a few short minutes... but what a great reminder to us mommies about making time for what is important to our little ones... not just us. Beautiful words Carol.

Melanie said...

Beautiful post. I love your perspective. I probably would have marched right in there and emphasized to the teacher the importance of the Eagle.

Mama Hen said...

I was always the teacher that no matter how busy I was I would make a big deal over something like that. It means the world to children. My daughter had a teacher like that last year. She wanted to show her things that meant something to her and then I would take them back to the car. The teacher never gave that big smile and made her feel great about her toy. I would say something to distract her and make her feel good about it. My daughter would talk about showing these things to her teacher all the way in the car ride there. It broke my heart also. One day the teacher made a comment saying Oh she has a lot of toys. Well Carol, you know how I felt about that I am sure. I have to say that this year she brought her horses in and her teacher had a huge smile and made a big deal over it. Those toys last year were things she had earned as well. It is hard for us as parents to see when others are not being as kind or as thoughtful as we would like them to be. If Cam was in my classroom I would have made a big deal over it Carol and told her how proud I was of her. Congratulations on her earning it! Have a great day.

Mama Hen

Lexie Loo, Little Lily, and Dylan Too! said...

This is a great reminder for all moms.
When I read her story, my heart ached for her. I hate to see that look cross over the faces of my kids.

WeeMasonMan's Mom said...

Oh my gosh, that's so sad, but makes so sense. I totally remember my mom telling me that I should stop singing because my bad singing voice was giving her a headache. I was 6 or 7 and I'm SURE she doesn't remember making such a comment, but I remember over 20 years later.

Ack, the little insignificant things that can actually mean so much. This is such a good reminder to be aware!