Patience might be a virtue, but it's not one I own. However, if I had known the wonderful, delicious, satisfying taste awaiting me in the form of consequential payback, I would have enjoyed the challenge of raising Kate even more than I have. And I might have gotten through the last 18 years without the bald patches. But I'm told the hair will grow back. Not until the youngest graduates, of course, but it will all be gray by then anyway, right?
But back to the payback.
Last week Kate experienced a last day of Catholic School Education that was hysterically karmic. Well,hysterical for me.
To truly appreciate the situation, you have understand a few things about my beautiful, stubborn, willful, hard-headed, intelligent, determined daughter. Perhaps I can most efficiently communicate my point by explaining that when she was five years old, I bought and read in one sitting a parenting book entitled The Manipulative Child. She was five. And I was already feeling continuously played. Did I mention, SHE WAS FIVE?!
Kate had her own way of getting what she wanted. Even if I went into a situation planning to say no to whatever the request was, she knew exactly how to work it so that I ended up saying yes. For example--How Kate asked to go to friend's house:
"Mom, Cory called and she's upset because her brother rode her bike and broke it and her dad said it can't be fixed and that was the bike her Grandma gave her and you know she's very close to her Grandma. You know, the same Grandma who had a heart attack last month and they thought she was gonna die. Her Grandma's doing better, but Cory's hamster actually did die, just this morning and you know that's the hamster she begged her parents for for two years and finally Santa brought it and she said that was the best Christmas ever and now she'll only remember it as a sad Christmas because the hamster died, which reminded her that her Grandma is still sick and is not getting any younger. So Cory is having a really bad day and she really wants me to come over just to bring a little happiness to her existence. Don't you think I should go over there?"
How could I say no to that?
Kate also has a knack for getting out of anything that even remotely looks like a consequence. And in Catholic school, where you get a demerit for having the wrong color socks or even the wrong color ink in your ballpoint, getting out of consequences is quite an accomplishment. Here's how Karma finally came back around:
I tried to wake her up before I left. Even though it makes her mad because I leave 10minutes before her alarm goes off so I interrupt her precious last 10 minutes, I do it anyway. Habit, I guess. But this time she fell back to sleep and the alarm failed. Score 1 for Karma! SO she wakes up 45 minutes late, pulls on whatever clothes happen to be on the top of the clothes hamper that is her bedroom floor and speeds to school. She missed her first hour finals. She's sent to the Principal's office where not one, but three principals interrogate her on the reason for her disheveled tardiness. Luckily, they believe her excuse, but don't excuse her absence. And for that, she must serve a detention...during 4th hour...in the lunchroom...on her last day...with 800 student witnesses.
So Kate, still bedheaded and morning-breathed and now red-faced heads to the lunchroom where she sweeps and mops and wipes and cleans everyone else's garbage. Then, they marched her to the hallway to clean those because she was out of uniform!
When I hear this, I have to laugh because she doesn't even clean up her own garbage at home. That's mom's job, right?
I remember when I was Kate's age and how my parents used to shake their heads and tell me they hope that when I have children of my own that they are just like me. They were true believers in "what goes around comes around." And now I've joined that club--the one where membership is earned only when you've been able to witness whatever your kids sent around, coming back around. I'm actually a VIP member, because Kate's Karma was witnessed and documented by her peers.
I'm also a true believer that if you are going to laugh at a situation sooner or later, you might as well make it sooner. Luckily, that is one bit of mom philosophy that Kate has bought into. It served her well on the last day of Catholic School and I'm sure it will serve her well next time Karma comes around.
By the way, Kate--for all the laughter and smiles and happiness that you have sent around--be patient. If you learned nothing else in 12 years of school, surely you'll never forget your last day lesson. What goes around comes around. If you are patient enough to wait for it.