Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Note

My son provided me a wonderful parenting moment last week.

Rhonda and I were visiting in her office when we heard Dakota pounding on something under the bathroom sink. "What are you doing?" Rhonda called through the door.

"Nothing," he said in a bright, cheery tone, though it sounded like something much worse than "nothing."

Suspicion finally motivated us to check in. As it turns out, he had literally dismantled the pipes under the bathroom sink. He totally disconnected the drain and left the pipe open. I heard Rhonda start to yell, "What were you thinking?!?"

Dakota meekly approached and said he was panning for gold out of a plate full of dirt from the yard. The dirt clogged the sink, and he attempted to fix it before anyone noticed. Well, it's true Dakota and I had once panned for gold, but we used a bucket, and didn't clog the sink.

I have to admit, I was furious, but I was late for work and didn't get a chance to yell.

Once I arrived at work, I had time to think about my reaction. The broken sink was in effect "water under the bridge," and no matter how upset I might feel, Dakota would never be able to fix the drain.

Rhonda said he did attempt to fix the sink by propping the pipes up with boxes and tying them together with rope. He cried about it for several hours in a futile attempt to repair the damage.

I'm not sure what settled over me, but I arrived home feeling gentle and calm. Rhonda had advised Dakota to avoid me, but I came home and simply fixed the sink without a word. Dakota was obviously surprised, and peered cautiously around the corner. When he finally realized I wasn't about to destroy him, he ventured to help me fix the broken drain.

That was the end of it, so I thought.

A few days later, Dakota handed me the neatly folded piece of paper you see above. It reminded me of the notes junior high students pass to each other. I opened it and read his simple message, "Thank you for not getting mad when I broke the sink."

His little note now goes into my collection of sacred documents.

The story lives on. He used this experience as the basis of a talk in church. He had the entire congregation laughing at his misadventures in a way that made me look like a great parent, or at least a tolerable one. More than anything, it reminds me how important it is to hold my temper and remember kindness.


Chelle said...

Nice story and neat pictures too. I like that one of Rhonda down below too.

TR Ryan said...

Beautiful story and a reminder that you can always look back to. Dakota sounds like a great kid!

Anonymous said...

Your addition to the blog today brought tears to my eyes. Dakota gained so much from how you handled the situation and so did you! How frequently our first reaction is so "wrong" but when we get a little distance from the situation, how much "right" can be given to us and others.


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