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November 19, 2021

car selfie

I couldn't tell if her face was red because of guilt or from the taillights of the car in front of us at the stoplight. I turned my focus back to the stalled line of traffic and let her continue with her story. Conversations under seatbelts without direct eye contact and music in the background are better than therapy if you ask me. 

Details flew around the car like confetti. I closed the sunroof to keep them in. 

She recognized that she hurt someone's feelings at school earlier but didn't know how to address it. An apology, sure. An effort to do better going forward, of course. Sometimes, though, once the damage has been done, repairing it isn't always a straightforward process. Sometimes there are curves and forks in the road you don't see coming.

I've learned this lesson many times, often the hard way. The light changed - green for go - and I gently pressed the pedal to move us forward. She shared stories of when her own feelings have been hurt. We talked about forgiveness. We talked about patience. We talked about understanding. 

It's easy to get wrapped up in numbers, in ages, but she's always been a bit wiser than her years.

Her mother nor I have ever really indulged her with baby talk. We've always spoken to her in our normal voices, in our normal way. When she asks questions, we give her the answers regardless of how difficult or uncomfortable the topic might be. Is this the right approach? As with all decisions when parenting, only time will tell.

I pulled into the grocery parking lot to grab a few last-minute ingredients for dinner. A strand of hair escaped her falling ponytail and danced in the wind from the air conditioning vent. I swerved into a parking spot but missed fitting in between the lines. She told me she prayed about her mistake.

I glanced her way to watch her grow up, another moment collected, right before my eyes. She tucked the loose strand of hair behind her ear. I put the vehicle in reverse, backed up, then pulled in a second time. She said she would reach out to her friend tomorrow.

Sometimes taking a step back and trying again is all we can do.

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