She had been waiting two years, three months to eat corn on the cob.
Two weeks before her braces were scheduled to be removed, she asked if she could eat on our red "Special Plate". Had she not thought of it, I would have surprised her with it at her seat. After all, from the moment braces go on, the countdown begins for them to come off, and as this date neared for her, everyone in our family anticipated her special day.
The week before, she planned her menu–nothing spectacular, but mixed among her favorites was the one thing she wouldn’t–she COULDN’T–eat with braces: corn on the cob.
Maybe because it was tabu for so long, she couldn’t wait to sink non-metallic teeth into a hot, buttery ear; I had never seen her so excited about a meal.
While I was cooking dinner, the phone rang. A friend in family crisis, needing care for her three young daughters, and as is often the case when urgencies occur, her husband was on his way home from a business trip, still two hours away. Quickly debating the ways we could help her, she planned to drop off her girls at our home as she headed out of town.
After I hung up the phone, my husband and I realized that wasn’t the best solution for my friend, though; it would require the logistical issue of getting her child-seat appointed van back to their house, a hassle for her husband that didn’t need to be. So…we decided we should take Rachel to her house. Because time was critical (involving my friend getting to the airport on time), we had to take my daughter RIGHT THEN.
Before dinner was finished.
Before we told Rachel the plan, she was trotting down the stairs, having come to the same conclusion–she thought it was crazy to bring the girls here, just so she could eat dinner first, and she offered to go there.
I think I was the only person having a hard time with this–for everyone else it was a no brainer.
My husband headed in our friend’s direction while I made a call to let her know they were on the way, and I finished cooking. The boys joined us in eating Rachel’s hand-picked menu and the Special Plate sat empty on the counter. My heart ached a tiny bit (isn’t that silly?).
Rachel got home while I was in the shower, around 9:30. She had already re-heated the plate I fixed for her, half-way done with her dinner when I walked downstairs to the kitchen. She was eating alone.
She looked up at me and smiled her beautiful new smile, grinning because she was eating on the Special Plate. I asked her about the girls, and she recounted their cuteness, and again, I expressed how disappointed I was she hadn’t been able to eat with us. She shrugged it off and quickly I told her I was proud for her immediate response to their situation. "It’s not a big deal, Mom" and she meant it.
She declined payment when the girls’ father offered it, something I intuitively knew before she told me. This was one of those times you simply DO for others without expecting a thing in return.
For a kid of mind to "consider others" so easily? In that moment, my heart swelled like the Grinch’s, almost exploding out of my chest. For all those times I’ve blown it as "Mother of the Year"? Not that I can take credit for her choices, but for a moment, I was so proud of my daughter, I wanted to shout it from the roof top.
Instead, I’ll just blog it on the world wide web…not with pretense or arrogance, but because it’s a precious mom-moment, it’s worthy of "village" celebration :).