Yesterday, my 7 year old learned how hard it can be to make things right when you do something wrong.
I found a tiny gold child's ring on my bathroom floor the other day, and I knew it didn't belong in our house. I started asking all the kids about it, and it became clear to me pretty quickly that this daughter wasn't being truthful when she said she had no idea how the ring got in the bathroom. Every mom knows that somewhere during pregnancy--or maybe while in post partum--you become equipped with a sixth sense when it comes to your kids. I don't know how it works, all I know is that once you've been a mom for awhile, you can sense which cry is for hungry and which is for sleepy; you can sense that little hands are about to dunk a toy into the toilet; and you can listen to your child tell you something and hear loudly in your head, "liar, liar, pants on fire."
So, after some intense interrogation (I knew those 150 watt bulbs would come in handy!), she admitted that she had taken the ring from her cousin's room during a sleepover last week. Little did she know that admitting her mistake to mom was probably the easiest part.
We had a tear filled drive over to my sister's house, with her pleading with me not to make her go. "PLEASE, mom!!! I can't do it!! I can NOT look her in the eye and tell her I took it!!"
"You can do it." I said. "And you will feel SO much better after you do."
I held her hand as we walked to the front porch and let go as she rang the doorbell. She looked so pitiful...the ring in one hand, a tissue for her tears in the other. At first, I wasn't sure if she would be able to pull herself together to do what needed to be done. My sister and I figured our presence would only make matters worse, so we quickly found other places to be.
After about 10 minutes, my daughter and my niece came bounding down the stairs. I could instantly see that the task had been completed and that all was once again good. They played for a while and then we said our goodbyes.
On the drive home, I was all set to talk to her more about how it's not good to steal because it's wrong and it makes us feel bad and we hurt people and ourselves and blah blah mommy blah. I thought this was my teaching moment. But from the back seat, my daughter piped up:
"Mom!! That was the hardest thing I ever did! I cried the whole time and soaked my tissue! But I did it! I looked right at her, gave her the ring, and I said, 'Megan, I took your ring, I know it was wrong, and I am very very sorry.' I feel SO much better, Mom. I never want to feel that way again. It was AWFUL, Mom, awful. But I feel okay now! And Megan's not mad at me! I am never going to take anything that isn't mine again...what were you going to say, Mom?"
"Nothing, sweetie. I'm just proud of you, that's all," I said.
Turns out that the experience was the teacher, I just provided transportation.