Change of Heart

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The call came on my cell phone as I headed home on my morning walk, visions of a relaxing cup of coffee in my head. It was my husband, en route to downtown Chicago to drop off my daughter at a summer basketball camp.

The camp was Hubby’s idea, and I argued that it was not worth fighting rush hour traffic for five days just to send her there. My husband insisted that he would do all the driving and I would not be the least bit inconvenienced.

So when he called my cell this morning and asked with fake innocence what my plans were for the day, I knew it was trouble. Sure enough, my daughter’s contact lens had ripped, and he was asking me to drive downtown to bring her a new lens.

“No way!” was my response. “I’m not driving all the way downtown.”

After I hung up, I immediately felt guilty imagining my daughter spending the day doing drills and scrimmages with only one contact in her eye. So of course I called my husband back.

Now, my husband has different ring tones for different people who call. He thinks it’s funny that the tone announcing my calls is a loud fog horn, basically trumpeting, “Mayday! Mayday! It’s my wife!” (Hilarious, I know.) So when I called back, he told me my daughter had heard the tone and said, “Maybe Mom has had a change of heart.” Indeed.

I was full of righteous indignation as I got in my car and headed into rush hour traffic. But as I drove, I realized that I needed to ditch the attitude and be grateful I was there to help my child. I don’t give my kids everything they want, by any means. But if they need my help, I’m there, no matter how tired, stressed, or inconvenienced I feel.

Over the years I have lost many hours of sleep staying up with a sick child. I have missed events I had looked forward to because one of my children needed me at home. Forgotten lunches or homework papers dropped off at school, “just one more” book read at bedtime, boo-boos kissed and bandaged, monsters banished from closets and under beds: it’s all in a day’s work for a mother.

My daughter was relieved and happy to see me (and just to see, period) about 45 minutes later. My only regret is that I did not acquiesce to her request with more kindness and grace in the first place. Let’s hope my change of heart lasts until the next time someone I love needs me to open it.

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