I was sitting on my bed reading a book before bedtime when Jane approached, purse on arm and keys in hand.
“Amy left her earbuds in my car. She’s getting ready to go to the gym so I’m going to run them in to her.”
“Why doesn’t she come out here to get them?” I asked.
“It’s not a big deal, mom.”
“Yes it is. It doesn’t make sense. She forgot them in your car, she should come out here and get them.“
“Really, mom, I don’t mind. It’s really not a big deal.”
“You are spending your gas money! You are going to spend 20-30 minutes on the road. Just so Amy can have her earbuds. It doesn’t make sense.”
“Mom, it’s fine! Amy drives me around town all the time. I just leave my car at school. It’s fine. I don’t mind.”
“Ok, whatever,” I said, realizing that this wasn’t a hill I needed to die on even if it made no sense to me.
I heard her come back in the house some time later, thought I heard her messing around at the other end of the house for a bit, and then finally she went to her room. I got up some time later to tell Daryl something in the living room. As I headed down the hall, I encountered a chair that I had asked her to return to the dining room earlier in the evening. I cracked open her door and wryly thanked her for putting it away.
“I’ll take care of it, mom.”
“No, that’s ok. I’ve got it,” I said, closing the door and then picking up the chair as I went down the hall.
“Mom! I said I’ve got it!”
“It’s really not a big deal,” I called back, trying to remove the irritation that must have been in my voice the first time. She obviously thought I was mad at her, which I wasn’t.
“MOM!! Please! I said I’d take care of it!!”
Confused, I tried to soothe her. “Honey, I’m not mad at you. I’m going that way anyway. It’s really not a problem.”
“MOM!!” She sounded like she was about to cry. “PLEASE don’t go to the dining room! I said I’d take care of the chair.”
“Ok,” I said, frustrated. “I’ve just set it down in the living room. Make sure you come take care of it.”
“Thank you. I will!” Relief. And fatigue.
After talking to Daryl, I passed back by her door and decided to open it again.
“Why can’t I go in the dining room?” I asked.
“You just can’t mom. Don’t worry about it.”
“What is it?”
“Just. Mom, it’s not a big deal. I just didn’t want you to go in there.” Her head was in her hands. She looked defeated.
“If it’s not a big deal, then why can’t I go in there?” Strangely, while I was getting a little frustrated, I wasn’t particularly suspicious nor angry.
“I just really didn’t want you to.”
We went a few more rounds of “why” followed by variations of “just because.”
“Is whatever I’m not supposed to see going to upset me?” I finally asked. Uncharacteristically, I was easily setting aside my curiosity and letting it go.
“No,” she said – dejected.
“Ok, then. I won’t go down there.”
“Good night sweetheart.”
“Good night mommy.”
I had forgotten the entire exchange by morning. As Hal and I prepared to head to school, I entered the dining room. And saw a vase with three red roses – one for each kid. And a note that said “Happy Friday!”
My husband wanted to treat me for Friday – a recently resurrected habit of his from our high school days – but was out of town. He had enlisted our eldest to help and it had nearly killed her.
“I’m a terrible liar,” she said. “I made up that story about Amy so I could go buy the flowers. And I didn’t want you to go in there because I had already set them up and Daddy had said it was really important that I didn’t let you see them before Friday.”
I’m not the kind of person that thinks God spends much time meddling in tiny, insignificant day-to-day matters. But looking back, my willingness to let it go – ME! Let it go! – seems a bit like a God thing.