|Cards from my funny, funny, Ravens-obsessed Valentine.|
"Is the store closed?"
"The one where I can buy Jolly Ranchers."
"That would be the supermarket. It doesn't close until midnight or later."
"I really want to buy Jolly Ranchers for my friends. To give out to all my friends tomorrow, at school. Is it too late?"
If you're a special needs parent, you know what happened next. Even though it was 15 minutes before he should be getting into pjs and ready for bed, even though this kind of last-minute request from Em would have made me scoff and dismiss her with a "you need to plan better," even though I was dead on my feet from a long-ass week full of deadlines and stress and work and more stress…I picked up my bag (no coat needed, even well after dark, in LA this week), put on my flip flops, and told him to get his wallet. He skipped off to this room, clearly relieved, very excited, and chattered all the way to the store about who he wanted to give how many Jolly Ranchers too (his art and English teachers are in for a treat!), then debated the various-sized bags. ("I don't know if there's enough in here. I have a lot of people to give them to." Swoon.)
There are times when charges are leveled at me--sometimes by others, often by myself--that I am too easy on N, too willing to roll over to give him what he wants, too coddling; that I don't let him learn the hard lessons, or that I favor him over Em. But, really, I know that's not true. I'm a subscriber to the parenting dictum of giving a kid what he or she needs, not just what the other kid gets. N *needs* to be able to do nice things for other people when he thinks of them, and if heading to the supermarket late the night before Valentine's Day is needed to make that happen for him, so be it. Em? Does not. She has 16 billion friends (almost literally) and has the whole give-and-take of relationship building down pat. So had she asked me to drop everything just minutes before bedtime, I'd have said no, and considered it a lesson in planning ahead. Because that would have been what SHE needed.
And besides, I did make him pay for the Jolly Ranchers. And then he made a sad face when I wouldn't let him pay for the chocolate milk we got him for his lunches at the same time. Because he loves being generous, buying things for other people. He just doesn't get a lot of chance to do it, and doesn't always think of it on his own. When he does? Well, I'm going to roll right over. I'm that kind of mom, I guess. And proud of it.