Monday, June 9, 2008

An Angel is Anyone That Makes Me Feel Good About Being a Human Being

For me, some days feel long and hard, honestly a rarity for me but they do happen. Still, on those days that I find that I've raised my voice in impatience with my children, I tend to beat myself up a bit for it. You might recognize the internal rant ... "Boy, I'm a terrible mother. I yell too much. What kind of person am I to take out my foul mood on my kids? They're great kids. They didn't do anything wrong. They'll be talking about this on the psychiatrist's couch some day." And, so it goes. Not all the time but just those once-in-awhile days where I've just gotten up on the wrong side of the bed when maybe I shouldn't have gotten out of bed at all. And, it seems to me that these are the days the most subtle and unexpected angels appear.

The other day I was discussing with another mother, the "123 Magic" book (Phelan) that I'm reading to help me improve my parenting. Our conversation was anything but private as we were having lunch at a shared table in a public place. The middle-aged couple nice enough to share their table were quietly talking amongst themselves. As we were cleaning up our space and preparing the children to move on, the gentleman got up for a moment and, in his absence, the woman said to me, "I don't mean to eavesdrop but I couldn't help but overhear your conversation about the book you're reading and your discipline tactics. And, I just had to say, I wanted to stand up and applaud you for your interest and perspective on raising your children. "

THIS woman was my angel for the day. Here I am bemoaning my behavior and feeling badly about my mothering style at that particular time and a stranger compliments me... Mind you, I am not tooting my own horn about my mothering style. If you think so, go back and reread the first paragraph where I talk about yelling too much and taking my bad mood out on my kids. This is about an angel. A stranger who at just the moment I was not feeling so great about myself, says something kind and gentle and reassuring to me. As though she knew I desperately needed that boost at just that moment. She made my day and helped me believe that maybe I'm not half as bad a mother as I occasionally think I am.

Sometimes, a well-timed, unbidden compliment from someone you don't know can make all the difference. I wish you all angels like this one in your lives. And, I hope that you feel good enough to pay it forward and be an angel to someone else who might just need that one kind word. I know I will!

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