My hope is that there is a hidden Nadine in everyone just dying to come out at the right moment cause mine comes out whenever the hell she feels like it and isn’t audience specific.
Feeling like Superwoman I’d quit way too many things that week and was hoping someone or something would take my rope and tie it around my hands so I could admit how much I was jonesing for sleep, sanity or a cup a coffee, a piece of chocolate cake and olives, or a caffeine pill, half a cup of sugar, two tablespoons of salt or a sleeping pill and an anti-depressant.
An honest wrangling was not to be my fate the morning I sat in the crowd amongst other ‘withdrawing from something’ parents. The principal announced that it was Random Act of Kindness week which woke my sleeping Nadine.
It started with a sarcastic chuckle and progressed to an outright “Fuck random acts of kindness week” which was a tad too loud and stirred the mothers sitting on either side of me who judging by the size of their pupils had apparently already had their speed intake of the morning. They glanced at me disapprovingly so I rolled my eyes and agreeing with Nadine said, “Well, it’s true”.
“Shhhh” I heard from behind me.
Oh no he didn’t Nadine thought to herself. I thought, it’s not like I said, “Fuck Kindness” followed by the thought “I need to shut up and get coffee then go home and go to sleep.”
Leaving the meeting I went home upset cause Random Act of Kindness Week left me feeling I needed to immediately get philosophical with my children about the entire idea of kindness. The truth was I needed to get real about what the school was wanting to teach. I both agreed and disagreed with the entire concept cause in general it was beautiful but overall kids are more than general and should be given more credit for what they know versus what we think they know which is on occasion outright shocking. “They’re not the parents” I reminded myself.
Unless it’s a promise to buy something my children pretend not to remember what I say. I have better luck maintaining their attention by doing things that don’t make sense to them so a few days after the meeting I brought home about twenty bunches of daffodils, the ones just looking like a dead vegetable of some kind near the produce section of the grocery store.
I set them on the kitchen counter and told them to leave them alone. Since they were completely closed I needed to remind them they were not food but non-edible flowers. This was followed by questions of why so many and why wasn’t I putting them in vases. My answer was that I liked them a whole lot and just didn’t feel like it. It was apparently good enough for them cause they sat there untouched for two days.
On the third day I saw they were beginning to open so knew it was time to put them in vases. When they returned home they saw I’d placed them in every room and all had opened to reveal their beautiful orange and yellow nature. There were no oohs and ahhs cause these are kids who need to be branded with a hot fork to turn their attention away from digital devices.
After dinner that night I did tell them that placing those daffodils in water when I got them home would have helped them to bloom sooner, that doing so would have extended the impact of their beauty and that this was one of their main reasons for living.
I didn’t tell any of them that Random Act of Kindness week was bullshit but I did tell them that kindness should be like the watering of the daffodils.
Never reserved, never planned and never random. Just something we are and something we do to water one another.
Kindness is Love Maintained on Purpose.
Buying daffodils to teach a lesson on kindness isn’t enough any more than picking one week a year to be kind at random is enough. Kids only get the message and take it to heart if they see us living it out every day.
I’m probably raising addicts but hopefully kind ones. The kind that will share their coffee with you over a game of Nintendo Switch at a table overflowing in their mothers daffodils, a reminder that parents are the first trumpet scent a child hears and repeats.