If I felt the need to qualify that statement, I would make sure to point out that there is no comparison or judgement intended, no thoughts of superiority or boastfulness, just an overwhelming and sincere adoration of the little person that sits across from me at the dinner table every night.
But I don't.
Lately, and often, I find myself struck by her thoughtfulness, her empathy, her eagerness to be kind and sweet and generous. And I tell her. Because if there's one parenting philosophy I subscribe to, it's that you can never say enough of the good stuff. And she loves to hear it. She gets almost shy as her eyes light up and a smile just tickles the corners of her lips. And I swoon. There is no other word. I swoon hard.
Yesterday we came across the word empathy and she asked what it meant. I explained that it had to do with trying to imagine how someone else is feeling as if you are the other person, rather than thinking about what you would do in their situation. Immediately, E responded with "Oh! I do that all the time! I do that with Noemie and Ayan, and Olivia!" It was as if being empathetic is just a natural thing you do with your friends. Because for her, it is. And I love that.
A few days ago she had an uncharacteristically long and intense meltdown in regards to the peeling of a clementine, which involved several (unsuccessful) trips to her room to calm herself down before re-entering society. Eventually, what began as a suggestion became a sentence, with the
On another day, she mentioned wistfully that she couldn't wait to be a grown-up. It's not the first time she's had this ridiculous notion, and I always tell her the same thing. That while I get the frustrations of being a kid and not having a lot of control over things, most people I know would go back to being a kid in a heartbeat. And not necessarily because being a kid is so much better, but because once you're an adult, you'll never get to be a kid again. But kids are in the enviable position of having it all. They can enjoy the good parts of being kids, and look forward to the good parts of being adults. It's a win-win. I asked her why she wanted to be a grown-up on this particular occasion, and her answer was "Because then I can tell people what to do." Hm. I told her that that's one of my least favourite things about being an adult. "Really?" she asked, baffled. "Why??" And all of a sudden I got a flash of how she might see me…
I tried to think of a good explanation that would make sense to her. "Because it makes me feel like I'm bossing people around, and I don't like to be bossy." And, just like a good minion, she had the perfect response. "I don't feel like you boss me around, Mom." There's that swoon again. Can swoons be violent? Because mine are.
The next morning, I was presented with this lovely surprise in bed:
You never boss me
I always love you
God, I have an amazing kid.