Some days . . . oh, let’s be honest here . . . most days, I watch my kids and wonder where in the heck they came from.
They out-do me.
They out-smart me.
They pretty much out-everything me.
Before I left last week, Abby asked me if she could have a plain white sheet. She needed it for a backdrop for a play that her class is doing this week. (Don’t even get me started on that play. It’s an amazing assignment, the culmination of an entire year’s work in Advanced Freshman English. The kids have to write their own Shakespearian play, create the set and the costumes, and perform it. It’s so worthwhile it’s ridiculous. But does Abby want me to come see this play? No. But don’t get me started . . . )
So before I left for California, I stopped at Target and got a king sized plain white sheet which another girl in their class sewed together with another king sized sheet. That’s one big backdrop!
Over the weekend, every time I called home, poor Abby, when she wasn’t practicing for her violin recital which I missed on Sunday (again, don’t get me started!), was down in the basement painting the backdrop for her class play. One girl came over on Saturday to help her paint, but mostly it was Abby’s job.
On Sunday night, when I got home, she was just finishing up this humongo project, so I went down to see it. I really wish I had brought my camera to the basement with me, because this is one beautiful backdrop. Abby had done such a fantastic job on it, creating a carnival-like scene complete with a ferris wheel and a game booth. It was so cute.
When we headed back upstairs I asked Abby how much time she had spent over the past few days, painting this backdrop. She figured out that she had put in over 13 hours, not including the additional couple of hours that her friend had helped her.
And do you know what? . . . (this is the part that really puts me to shame) . . . Abby never complained. She just got to work and painted. She never said to me, “Mom, this totally stinks. I wish I didn’t have to do this. I wish I had help.”
Nope. She just said, “I have to do this job. It’s a big job, but I have to finish it.”
And that’s what she did. She worked until the job was done.
I learned something from Abby this weekend (when I wasn’t even home). I learned that complaining is useless. It gets me nowhere. Complaining is for cowards who are afraid to work hard.
What will get me somewhere will be just plain digging in and getting the job done. On time. Without complaining.
On Monday morning Abby folded it up and took that huge backdrop, completed, to her class. She should have been proud of her work. But I guess not everyone in her class was impressed—the kid in charge of the play found fault with her work. (Don’t even get me started on that one, either!)
So I guess Abby learned something too. She learned that no matter how hard you work, someone will criticize. Someone will belittle. Someone will find fault. But Abby handled even that hardship with grace, as she does most things.
And watching her, I learned something else this week: Abby is the brave one.