My children woke up horrified this morning, as they stared out at the front right tire of my car—no hubcap.
When I walked into the house after my walk with the dog, they announced that we had a problem. In the 15 minutes while I was gone, Jacob had priced a new hubcap out, $60, and Tyler was dressed and headed out the door to check on the other three.
Wow! All that, and I hadn’t even noticed a problem—they were on it!
I knew where their enthusiasm was coming from, they were embarrassed by the way it, or rather we, would look driving around with a missing hubcap.
I said that I would follow the routes of yesterday, back and forth between the school, ball fields, grocery store, and the golf course. Hopefully it would turn up.
They looked at me and asked, “Well, what if it doesn’t?”
I simply stated, I hope it does, because I do not want to pay $60 dollars for a hubcap—we might go without for a bit. They slumped, and that is when I started hearing how terrible it looked, how embarrassing it would be, etc. Can’t say as I wasn’t having the same dialogue in my own head—but I was the parent here. It’s not about what’s on the outside, it’s the inside that counts.
The kids then began expressing their annoyance because just the week before I had my car inspected, tires rotated, winter tires off, and 2 new tires purchased and put on. The day before our hubcap fell off Tyler had noticed that the rear hubcap was coming loose, he fixed it, but didn’t think to check the others. “If only I had checked the other 3,” he said. “I didn’t think that the guys at the shop would overlook securing all the hubcaps after they were done.”
My comment, “I know guys, it looks horrible … let’s see what happens.”
As a mom, I am thinking 2 things …
1) I don’t want my kids to think that hubcaps or the cars that we drive really matter in the big scheme of things. Although it would not be my choice to go around without a hubcap, we could be patient for a bit and see if it showed up. I wasn’t going to go out and just buy one without waiting a bit, just for vanity. What was that teaching my kids?
2) I was also thinking that I am proud that they have pride in our things. My kids are very attentive to the yard, the flowers, the “state” of the house, and home improvements. They want to have things look kept up and are always willing to help with that. They recognize that we do own the ugliest couch in the world, but that there are other things that require our finances first before going and replacing a perfectly fine couch with something that is more aesthetically pleasing. Which I am happy about.
After the hubcap was discussed and the kids went off to school, I went for a ride this morning, and, rest assured, I found my hubcap … sitting against a tree, on the side of the curb. Just watching, like it was waiting just for me to come and pick it up.
With that little situation put to bed, I then sat down at my kitchen table, coffee in hand, to embark on my writing piece for this week’s Just Me Kate column.
Hmmm … Lessons from the curb … was I on to something?
Mother’s Day is Sunday.
I thought about the lessons that I learned from my own mother. How did I learn them?
She taught me to say my pleases and thank you’s, smile and be pleasant, and many, many, many other useful things. It wasn’t because she told me that I learned though. It was more because she showed me by the way she lived everyday.
You could say I observed her “from the curb.” Sort of like my hubcap that I found this morning.
She didn’t preach, she did not need to. She gave us the example.
It was the way she carried herself and handled herself around her family, and treated people at the grocery store, the library, and on the street. “Oh sir…” (inside joke)
It was her patience … which was long. I don’t remember my mother ever blowing her top.
She taught me want versus need—clothes shopping meant 3 pairs of pants and a few interchangeable shirts. Her claim, which is true, is it’s not necessary to spend all that money so that it can sit in your closet. It was tough being a teenage girl in our house with that line of thinking, but it taught me the difference—maybe that’s why I rummage through consignment stores. It’s so that I can justify a closet full of clothes that cost me a tenth of what they cost brand new—I learned!
It was her lack of tolerance for making your bad day everyone else’s problem—we were taught to go work it out in our room on our own time, and not on the family. I don’t ever remember my mother’s bad day trickling into ours with lashing out and irrationality. She went to her flower garden instead.
She gave us emotional support, every day. There is no one in this world who protects my emotions more than my mother. She is the safe place to go, always. No matter how I feel, she never makes me feel defensive about it. She has never made me feel small, told me what to do, or laughed when I was down–unless, of course, she was laughing with me. She listened, guided, and helped me navigate. She taught me to just feel and then do. Which was totally her way of doing things.
She taught me to work … when the chips are down, don’t sit idle, work through it—and she always did, every day, 8 a.m., my mother was out the door and onto the day’s work—she still is.
As I was thinking of this long list of things that my mother has taught me, I realized it’s the example that we show our kids every day that matters most.
We can talk and nag until we are blue in the face, but are we practicing what we are preaching?
While the kids sit on the curb and watch, they are absorbing. They see us do and go, react and show. Truly, they mirror what they see, everyday.
There are ups and downs in this life—unavoidable. And our kids will see that, in themselves, and in us. Our job is to teach them how to navigate and react through those turbid, and placid, waters, making the most of the situation, and working with themselves.
With every turn, every reaction, every whisper, every look—we mothers are teaching our children every moment. Are you doing your best?
Our kids; they learn their lessons from the curb … and then we hold out our hand to them, and they walk down the street with us, together.
Here’s to finding hubcaps, and having the best mom ever! Thank you Mum!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!