She Was Always Listening

Driving home I was happy.  For once I had finished them early.  For once I would have them done before they needed to be sent out.  For once I could get them all ready to go and just stare at them all beautiful, neatly folded, hand printed and done…early!!  It only took me eight years…I totally rock this mom thing!

I took my work bag out of the car and walked in the house with a smile (yup still proud of myself)

I put my bag on the arm of the couch and took out a blue file folder.  I could not wait to show her what I had gotten done so that we could put everything together.

“Olivia!  Come here!!!!” I hollered to the upstairs, “Mommy’s home and I have something to showwww youuuu,” I happily sang.

“Coming mommy!” she answered back in the sweetest voice

“Look what mommy got done today!!!” I said proudly showing  her the neatly printed, ready to be paired with glittery ice cream cone party invitations and put into envelopes sheet of directions and party details.

“Oh…” she fround.

“Oh!  That’s all I get? What’s wrong with them? “ I frowned as my mommy done ahead of time joy was instantly sucked out of me.

“Nothing,” she answered with an I’m learning to kind of fake being happy kind of smile.

“Seriously.  Tell mommy.  What is wrong?”

“I wanted part of it in Spanish*, like the papers from school.”

“Oh…But these are all done and ready to go!”

{insert big mommy frown}

“You know how when you bring papers papers home in Spanish and you read them to mommy in English? Don’t you think that the other students can read English and tell their parents what it means,” I ask and try to persuade her to share in my quickly fading practically gone I’m done early mommy joy.

I stared at her waiting for an answer.

She thought more…

I thought more….Was she going to let this go?  They were done.  They were done early.  Did the invitation really need a portion in Spanish?

“Mom,” she looked up at me and spoke with a directness beyond her years, “I really want it also in Spanish.”

“So you don’t think the kids in your class that speak Spanish can tell their parents what it means in English?” I asked.

She stared at me again, this time with a look of mom could you please just “get it!”

and then I did…

“A couple of the students that speak Spanish are the ones you really want there, aren’t they,” I asked finally getting it.

“Yes,” she nodded.

“ Do they read English as well as you read Spanish?” I asked.

“Not all of them Mommy,” she shook her head.

“Are you afraid that if it is not in Spanish too some of their parents won’t let their kids come?” I asked kneeling down so I could be eye to eye with her and show her I was finally getting it.

“Yes!” she said definitively with a head nod  and you really finally get it Mommy smile.

Two days later, some help from a friend who spoke Spanish,  an hour of stuffing envelopes and  the invitations were ready to go with the very important English/ Spanish directions and party detail.  Not early but on time enough.

Days later RSVPs came in via email and text messaging.  Most were what I expected but a few surprised me.  In between the broken english and a couple of spanish texts were the words of parents that were able to communicate to me.

It was in those moments that I realized that  Olivia knew.  She knew to stick to her guns.  She knew to not waver.  She knew how important that portion of the invitation being in Spanish was.  She knew her friends. She knew their families.  Her thoughtfulness for them, what they would and wouldn’t understand and what they needed made a huge difference.

So while I have talked to her over and over again about being  thoughtful when she has been selfish.  While I talked to her and  tried to teach her to recognize others needs, to tune into others and not just care about herself.  While I wanted to make sure I raised a daughter who was  genuinely considerate and thought of others.  While I was left defeated  by the next time she was not thoughtful.  I was left worrying she is just never going to get it.

But in this  moment I was left with a simple heart warming, thought….

She has always been listening.

She was learning.

…and the thoughtfulness that I worried for so long  would never show itself was suddenly shining.  It was strong.  And she was even more genuine and considerate and even more amazing than I could have ever expected her to be.


*Olivia has been in a Dual Language Spanish/English class since kindergarten.  Dual language classrooms were designed to immerse native english speakers and spanish speaking children in  classes (my daughters both started in kindergarten) where instruction is given in  80% Spanish and 20% English (with percentages varying as they get older).  The idea is that the native English speakers will develop their English skills while learning Spanish. Essentially they  become  fluent speakers and readers of both languages by 5th grade and the native spanish speakers will become fluent speakers and readers of both languages as well.  I could write an entire post on the awesomeness that is Dual Language and my personal views about why the heck the entire country isn’t doing it, but that is for a different day.


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2 Replies to “She Was Always Listening”

  1. what an incredible way to educate our young, I think just that is amazing.
    But oh Olivia, what a phenomenal little human being you are , sticking to your guns, going with your heart, caring so much about others.
    it brings tears to my eyes.

    Oh Carrie, hug her tight, she is a star.

    1. Kirsten it is incredibly amazing and I am in awwww of the awesomeness that is a young learners mind. It has ridiculous potential! My Olivia is something else, isn’t she. I know you know our stories and it has not always been easy with her. We have had our moments but that last two years life together with her has been fantastic and full of awesome! She is something else. I am constantly warmed by the person she is becoming. I am excited each day to be a part of her life and watch her become the person she is going to be! I hug her tight everyday! XOXOXO

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