The Red Dress Club: Lesson Learned

The sun beats against our backs. A slight drizzle cools the air. I breathe in the smell of rain.

Maybe there’ll be a rainbow! Kayli says, eyes bright.

Maybe there will. I respond, voice tight.

Jason has been out of town for a few days and I am worn. My body tired, my patience thin, my steps brisk.

I’m between Brody and Chloe, every one of my fingers is laced. Kayli leads us, her flip flops smack against the damp sidewalk. Tendrils of hair wisp at her neck. She sweeps them back with one hand-stroke. She doesn’t look back once.

I’ve got this Mom! She says, pulling open the impressive door, leaning against it to let us through, stumbling from its weight. I take over.

Cool air welcomes us in. As do shelves and rounds and stacks and columns of books.

For a moment, I stop and take in the strong lighting and fanciful carpeting, the full displays and endless titles.

Ponytailed girls browse the Beach Reads. A couple stands hand-in-hand perusing the New Releases. A silver haired man wearing white sneakers and a checkered short sleeve digs through the Bargain Shelves.

The moment fleets, and I revert back to rushing, moving, shooshing.

Keep moving!

No grabbing!

Voices quiet!

Walking feet!

Stay by me!

My voice edges harsh, impatient. And if I’m honest with myself, my heart mirrors the feeling.

I move us all aside, out of the way, bristling when Kayli bumps into a woman my Mother’s age. I’m so sorry! I blurt, meddling with Kayli’s instant, I’m sorry. Are you okay?

The woman runs her fingers through her short brown hair, much like Kayli had in the parking lot, adjusts her green reading glasses, and pulls her pile of books close to her chest. You are so polite! She says to Kayli through smiling pink lips.

She asks each of my children if they like to read as I stand aside, watch, listen. See.

I love chapter books. Kayli says, eyes serious.

I can’t read yet, but I love stories. Chloe responds, eyes smiling.

I can read covers! Brody announces, eyes sure.

She smiles and nods, pats their backs and compliments. And for this moment, standing beside my children, I see them through her eyes. And they are breath-taking.

Lesson learned.

RemembeRED is a memoir meme. This week’s prompt is to write a post that either starts or ends with the words “Lesson learned.” Constructive criticism is always welcome.

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Comments

  1. It’s amazing to be able to take a step back and see your children in a different light.
    You capture each aspect of it so perfectly, even down to the wisp of hair!

  2. A simple moment, beautifully woven into a gorgeous story, Galit.

    I love how a simple kind act by a stranger moves you to where you need to be – to see your children as the wonderful people they are. Great writing as always!

  3. Beautiful moment and great writing. It’s amazing when we see them through someone else, isn’t it?

  4. I had this moment the other day. I was snarking at my son, just before the our regular cashier told me how she looked forward to us everyday because my son was so polite. I know some of this is because of my high expectation, but I know too that it’s because it’s so hard to step back. Don’t forget that lesson, I have to try to hard to keep it in front.

  5. Oh, Galit…this is beautiful. This is a wonderful reminder! We often get caught up in that moment of frustration and impatience…you captured it beautifully. XO

  6. This is a great take on the prompt! Sometimes those kind words about my kids from a stranger really turns a day around.

  7. Very nicely written! All of you Red Dress ladies are such good story tellers. I am not. But I love reading what you all do!

  8. Reading your writing always made me feel like I’m NOT smarter than a fifth grader. LOL

    Very detailed yet concise. I was able to visualize Kayli’s hair, the interlaced fingers, the older lady… I could feel the children’s excitement, your impatience, and at the ending, your proud Mommy moment :)

  9. Beautifully written. Loved the details: “her flip flops smack against the damp sidewalk. Tendrils of hair wisp at her neck. She sweeps them back with one hand-stroke.” Made me wonder how many times I, as a young mother, let my impatience make me miss out on such precious moments with my children. Lovely, Galit.

  10. My favorite lines?
    “I love chapter books. Kayli says, eyes serious.

    I can’t read yet, but I love stories. Chloe responds, eyes smiling.

    I can read covers! Brody announces, eyes sure.”

    Their responses are great, but I love how their eyes tell the tale, each a different story. Great response and great moment captured with such eloquent words. 😉

  11. Galit this is written through the eyes of so many mothers. It’s so hard to just be present with them sometimes. Lovely piece.

  12. I adore your children and I am so envious of how you are raising them.

    I do this often too, when I am spent and frustrated and out of patience with asking the boys to be quiet, to be good, to behave, to be “less” I look around..and I watch other people watch them, see them for the miracles of my life they are. thank you for reminding me of this.

    Once again, you write just what I needed. THANK YOU for that my friend. xo

  13. This connected to me because yesterday I blamed my kids for something they didn’t do.

    Our beloved red beta fish, Daisy, passed away. It had been a bad morning. The kids weren’t exactly on their best behavior. I walked into my youngest daughters bedroom and saw a lot of fish food poured into the bowl. I yeleld at her and her niece (i was babystitting/working from home yesterday), thinking they’d killed Daisy.

    Daisy had died about an hour earlier. After i calmed down. I listened to what everyone had to say and realized this.

    My lesson learned: not everything is as bad as it seems.

    Thanks for reminding me that.

  14. Older people always bring me back down to earth because I’m sure many times their hearts are aching to be back to those days. Their perspective is priceless. As is your writing. xo

  15. Holy crap, you made me cry. Stop it!
    I have this day so often. Husband goes away, I’m corralling the kids through a book store, someone stops to adore my kids who I’m cursing over in my head. And then I see.
    Perfectly explained. Love it.

  16. Wow.

    I’m taking a breath right now and am a little close to tears because I, too, have been guilty several times of using that harsh, impatient voice with my kids when we’re in public places like the library. This is such a reminder to see my children as beautiful (as others often tell me) and not get them caught up in my own stressed-out, anxious moments. A much needed reminder for me.

    You expressed this precious lesson learned so beautifully. Once again you hit that soft spot in my heart with your writing.

  17. Oh I live for those moments when God blesses me with a glimpse of just how breath taking my children really are to me, others and especially to Him. I saw my daughter that way last weekend. All grown up but accomplished, beautiful, intelligent, compassionate and my child.

    Thank you for putting into words what I could not.

  18. Keely Weiland says:

    Love when I get a glimpse into my life from the outside. Thank you once again for your amazing words.

  19. So did you tell the sweet lady you would be back in 2 hours to pick them up? HA! Sorry. lol

    I love this. It’s me every day sadly. :(

  20. How wonderful you did to catch each of your child’s personalities in their eyes, and in yours. Beautiful. Doesn’t it just make your heart swell when you catch those glimpses?

  21. Oh, Galit! SO relatable. Lovely. Tears, as usual.

  22. Great post! Beautifully written.

  23. What a great post! I can definitely relate. It’s so hard to distance myself from the stress of parenthood sometimes– but in those magic moments when I’m able to look beyond the schedules and the to do lists and the logistics, I tell you, my daughter is seriously the 8th natural wonder of the world. Thanks for reminding me of that today. :)

  24. ok how hormonal am i (PMSing big time) that the ending left me in tears?!

  25. It’s nice seeing how other people see our children isn’t it? Gives us a new perspective when we are worn out.

  26. Well said! And oh, how I needed this reminder!

  27. Sometimes we are too close to the flame to see the beautiful light our children reflect to the world. Beautiful response to the prompt!

    This got me a little choked up:

    “My voice edges harsh, impatient. And if I’m honest with myself, my heart mirrors the feeling.”

    I do this way too much. I feel guilty about it, but then I do it again.

  28. Beautiful, Galit! It is in those little moments, often where I’m at my wits end, where I seem to learn the greatest lessons as a parent. Thanks for sharing!

  29. When it comes to my kids, someone else is always able to see the bigger picture while I focus on the little details. I need to remember to cut that out.

    Beautifully written.

  30. Beautiful job capturing your internal tension and its re-alignment by a stranger’s kindness. Nicely done!

  31. I just love this! As always, I love your writing style, but I love the message even more. How often are we humbled by an outsiders opinion on our children–our children who drive us nuts all the time! Great post!

  32. i love you.
    Okay, wait, that came out wrong. I mean, I do LOVE you but I LUUUUUURVE your writing.

    That is all.

  33. OH, I am sure they are breath taking! It does help you ease up to see them as someone with less investment can see them. And aren’t you so right about how our heart rate (and b.p.) can rise to meet the stress level and fast pace we hurl though life without our realizing it? This is a very good lesson to learn…for our kids’ sake and our own!

  34. And Galit does it again…captures another precious story and brings it to life. Bravo!

  35. PearslGirl says:

    As always, I love this! You are the first I read each week. Thank you, also, for commenting on mine each week. I don’t get many comments, so I’m so thankful for yours.

    I love this. I bet your children are beautiful and precious!

  36. Oh, Galit…this is so humbling. Sometimes I feel myself getting impatient at work, and I have to remember to take a moment to step out and try to see things through someone else’s eyes. I guess we all need those moments from time to time. This was a beautifully captured memory, and again, beautifully humbling.

  37. This is so beautiful and relatable. Abbey and I have been at odds lately, and I know I have been snippy and short and impatient, and I hate that. This made me cry, and I will keep it with me in the morning when I need to remember that my expectations are sometimes much, much too high for her precious little self.

    Lesson learned.

    (Not being snarky either.)

  38. oh. you just took my breath away.

  39. One of my favorite posts ever! I can identify all too well with the weariness and impatience. Thanks for reminding me to stop and look.

  40. Yes. Oh, yes. That line about my tone mirrors my heart.

    Out of the overflow of the mouth, the heart speaks. That’s so very true.

    And when, like you, my husband is away and I am stressed, I miss the wonder and skimp on showing the love.

    Which is why the universe reminds us, as it did for you.

    Your writing is always so spot-on.

  41. I know this feeling so well. All of it. The exhaustion, the stress, the tiredness. And then the guilt. And the heartbreak.

    Such a beautiful job expressing all of it.

  42. I feel this way most days. Then I am thankful for this wonderful person that reminds me of how wonderful my children are.

  43. Gorgeous. And there it is, right there. Bring it with you, okay? Or I will.

  44. Love this! I so remember the frustration of carting for small children while my husband was away for work and the complete JOY I received when I saw others delight in my children. I loved reading your experience – very well told!

  45. Lovely as always, Galit. It’s so easy for patience to wear too thin. What a nice lady. Those last few lines made me a little misty.

  46. Beautifully done. Sometimes we don’t see what’s right in front of us, so an angel is sent our way to point it out. :)

  47. Oh my, did I see a piece of me in this – and to be honest, it’s not a side I think I’ve ever acknowledged before…

    Really.

    I, too, fall all over myself to apologize for my children; I imagine them to be bumbling, loud, annoying; I assume other people will not be overjoyed by them.

    But I should not jump to such conclusions.

    Because people can see the loveliness in them. They do see it.
    I just need to remember to look for it myself.

  48. I am bowled over every time I see my son through someone else’s eyes. It’s so heartwarming to be reminded both that I am doing something right and that he is an amazing little human.

  49. It must be so wonderful to find yourself in a moment like this… seeing your children through the eyes of a stranger. And what a kind stranger she was, yes?

    You are an awesome momma–it’s reflected in the stories you tell of your little ones :)

  50. You nail it every time. The tension, the frustration – I could feel it all. And then at the end it washed away – brushed aside like rain from a windshield.

    Thank goodness for these moments.

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