After “just a few more minutes” of the Disney channel, I finally told her to turn off the TV. Four shows in one day was plenty.
“But WHAT CAN I DOOOOOOOO?” she whined.
I wasn’t buying it. I reminded her of the MANY books and toys just down the hall in her room. And sure enough, it took her all of five seconds to find a balloon she’d gotten the day before at our favorite Mexican restaurant (and our obvious choice for Mother’s Day lunch).
She then proceeded to make up a “don’t let the balloon hit the floor” game, alternating shouts of “Watch, Mama!” and “Bibbity Bobbity Boo!” while I worked on dinner.
Glancing her way when she asked – and when she got a little too close to the dishwasher I was emptying – I chuckled at her enthusiasm and determination to Have Fun With the Balloon!
Eventually she moved from asking me to watch her into telling me how awesome she was. “I’m awesome! I’m the best balloon catcher! I’m going to get a trophy! There’s going to be a PARADE!”
Oh, to have that sort of confidence – even in a make-believe balloon game.
After a while she paused and asked me, “Mommy, am I awesome? Do you think I’m an awesome balloon catcher?”
Of course, I told her. Then she asked, apparently needing not just affirmation but SPECIFIC compliments, “Why do you think I’m awesome?”
“I think you’re awesome for making your own fun and having a great imagination.”
That satisfied her and she went back to running in circles and playing balloon catch with herself.
As I started peeling potatoes [Remember that time I was going to cut back on carbs? No, me either.], I smiled. How often have I wanted to whisper those words: “Am I awesome? Do you think I’m awesome? WHY? Why do you think I’m awesome?”
Yeah, I bet you’ve felt those words bubble up and stick in your throat, begging to be asked, just once. But of course, we don’t ask. We can’t. It would be weird. It would sound so needy. Or desperate. Or weird.
So maybe we should take time to tell someone we love that we think they’re awesome – and even explain exactly why. Write a note. Send a text. Meet for coffee and say the words to her face. I can’t guarantee someone will return the favor right away, but just think: loving someone in your life enough to say, “You’re awesome!” will inevitably help you remember how awesome you really are.
[And when are you going to tell that person??]