We went to a neighbor's house this past weekend to help their daughter celebrate her 4th birthday. The kids played with legos and dolls and whatever else littered the well-stocked playroom. But after a spell, Desmond wandered into the dining room where the adults were sitting.
"Do you have any books?" he asked.
Did you see the piece in the Wall Street Journal about French parents and why they're better than American ones? Remember the buzz about Tiger Moms and how their strict, demanding style makes most Western parents seem indulgent and lazy?
There are so many stories and reports and "experts" who remind me I'm doing it wrong. I don't fret over them for the most part because I do a bang-up job of badgering myself already. I'm well aware that I'm too often short-tempered and impatient, that I'm overwhelmed by the noise, especially when I'm distracted by words and stories in my head. I don't volunteer enough and we simply can't afford the array of activities that no doubt would enrich the kids' lives.
The only thing I can do is redouble efforts every day to dig deeper for patience and focus and compassion, and pray hard that the kids forget, or eventually forgive, the anger.
Every so often, though, I get a glimpse like this past weekend that we're doing at least a few things right by our kids. Desmond wasn't interested in the toys; he wanted to read! I would have high-fived Kent right there in our friends' dining room if he'd been at the party.
And on Friday, Esme brought home her report card. Tucked inside was a handwritten note from her teacher who complimented her on her strong reading and writing skills. "She's devouring books right here in my classroom," her teacher wrote. "I honestly delight in her writing. Oh my, keep her at it!"
Small victories, they're what keep me going.
Dana blogs at Feast After Famine.