March 6, 2011

A random act of kindness

Alex is just like any other teenager I know (at least the ones in my family). She wants to be independent, thinks she is too old to listen to her mother and is mostly interested in doing things she wants to do. This is not a bad thing, I was the same way, and to be truthful am still the same way. But as a parent, I often have to bury these wants and desires and act in a way that is good for my whole family.

However, every once in awhile I have a meltdown. Lack of income, inability to modify our mortgage and trying to cooperate with the school district take their toll on my psyche about once a month. I do not know how to control my periodic meltdowns, only disguise them and take a time-out in my room. Everyone in my family knows to leave me alone and let me mellow, except Alex.

Unlike most other teenagers I know (at least the ones in my family) Alex has a special intuition. Perhaps it was the tears I tried to hide or my absence that Alex noticed, but once again my extraordinary daughter healed my pain and reminded me of what is good in my life.

My most recent episode revolved around yet another entirely frustrating conversation with the Bank. Their denials of receiving the paperwork we sent, resent and resent drove me to such a level of anger my only outlet was to cry, not an ordinary cry, but a hyperventilating type of cry that caused me to feel dizzy and become nauseous. Alex and I were the only ones home at the time. As I went upstairs I told Alex I was going to take a “nap”.

After a few minutes Alex came upstairs to hunt me. As she knocked on the door and entered she noticed my distress right away. Not surprisingly, Alex also noticed my red face, damp pillowcase and shaking body. Her immediate response was to hug me and ask what I wanted. Not one to ignore queen-like opportunities, I requested dinner and a water bottle. Twenty minutes later, a fully cooked lean cuisine delivered on a plate, with a fork, a napkin and a big water bottle appeared in Alex's hands. As I thanked Alex, I was reminded that yes she is a teenager, just like her peers. Her comments as she left the room caused me to chuckle:

“Don’t bother me now, it is my dinner time”

Alex is a creature of habit and meals are very important to her. However, in this case I believe I was more important to Alex than food; a huge honor. I almost never trump food, and just that thought made me happy. But more than that, this feeling of gratitude this simple act of kindness gave me brought me to tears again, happy tears, not tears of frustration anger and self-pity. The best kind of tears.

Once again Alex taught me a lesson on that dark afternoon. My family is my heart and soul, a bank, a school district or a recession cannot and will not affect my spirit. This is the lesson Alex brings to us, our family and our community. We are the luckiest people I know.


  1. Lucky indeed. And we are lucky that you share this with us! Hugs from Canada ... with long arms and a big heart and lots of "yup! recognize that."

  2. I do believe that it is something on the extra chromosome - my daughter even at 11 one time knew I was in my room to recover and pushed a piece of gum (a fav of hers) under the door and had written on it Mom on her own (an accomplioshment) and said thru the door that it was there for me to feel better. What gifts we have!

  3. You have raised a thoughtful, kind daughter.

    Great job Alex!


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