“The jerk store called. They ran out of you.” ~ George Costanza in Seinfeld
Little N used to take the bus to school. But I give her a ride on most days now. It gives her an extra 20 minutes of much-needed sleep. I love driving with little N, and chatting about anything and nothing. This morning, the conversation steered towards violin performances. Little N smiled. “Mommy, remember the time in 5th grade when I messed up my solo a couple of times in Miss L’s class?”.
Oh, did I remember.
I have thought about that particular performance of little N’s several times over the intervening years. After a group performance, Miss L gave her students the chance to play solo the piece that they were currently learning. Some kids couldn’t wait to show off, while others hung back. I, seeing that little N was not raising her hand, called out “Oh, Miss L, Neha would like to play her solo”. That moment features amongst my most cringe-worthy moments as a parent (unfortunately, there are quite a few of those). Really do not understand why I was so clueless and pushy. But there I was.
So. Little N stepped up, entirely unprepared (and likely rattled by sudden pushiness from mom), and played the piece that she was then learning. Perfect it was not. She missed hitting the right notes a couple of times but performed bravely and with poise. But I didn’t stop there. I ranted all the way back in the car about how she didn’t take the initiative when Miss L asked the kids to perform the solo, and then, how she did so badly. I lectured on and on (and on) about practicing more and performing well. N told me a couple of times that I was way out of line and should shut the he!! up (I always do so much better when I listen to him, really). But I was too far gone that day to listen to any voice of reason. I continued to holler away heartlessly at my munchkin for not delivering excellence under pressure.
And now, here we were, 6 years later. Driving along to school on a mild winter morning, with little N asking me if I remembered that performance. “Mommy, I remember you roasted me so hard on the car ride back from that performance in Miss L’s class.” I waited. Little N continued, “I totally deserved it. I remember I did so badly.” I told her how I have thought back to that day many times with a lot of regret and how insane it was to have pushed a 5th grader that hard. “That’s ok, Mommy. Sometimes, you need to do that. It’s not like I am traumatized or anything.”, she smiled reassuringly at me.
The fact of the matter is, I behaved like an ass that day. No two ways about it in my mind (sadly, I know that you agree too).
All things considered, though, little N’s gracious take on the incident makes me so happy. 🙂