Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"What you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."   This is one of my favorite quotes and I am feeling too relaxed and lazy right now to look up its origin, but what a great quote to think about.  Last night we were driving home from cheer practice (that is for another post) and there was a jogger on the wrong side of the road, preventing us from turning and seemingly unaware of it because he was lost in his own little world.  As you might imagine, the two adults in the car started complaining about people who don't follow rules and inconvenience us and put themselves in danger.  All of a sudden from the back seat a voice that I could swear was my daughter said, "Hey guys, you don't know what that guy is going through.  Maybe something awful just happened to him and he doesn't even notice what is going on around him."  I whipped around as fast as I could knowing somehow this thing about my mother dying was fake and she was sitting in the back seat reminding me that we have to think of others too.  But no, it was just my amazing 11 year old daughter with a slight smile on her face that led me to recognize that she was repeating something I must have said to her when she was complaining about someone.   I thanked her for the reminder and still could swear I heard my mother's laughter in the back seat of that car.  
My first memory of "what my mother was" was when I was very little.  I can't say what age but we were at the laundromat.  Even now, that memory seems weird because we had a washer/dryer but trust me we were at the laundromat and a woman was yelling at her child.  She may have smacked him or she may have been about to smack him, but I remember my mother with that look.  That self-righteous angry look that she would stop this woman no matter what from hitting her child.  But then my mom did something I did not understand at the time.  She said to the woman, "It really isn't easy raising kids is it?"  The tone I heard in my mother's voice was one of complete compassion and I didn't understand at all.  I looked up at her and saw a different, soft face full of love.  What was happening here?  I remember being just so confused.  My mother sat and talked to that woman and I don't remember the rest of any of the conversation but I remember being fascinated that the woman was crying and my mom seemed to be her closest friend.  
After leaving the laundromat I had to know why my mom had been nice to this woman and all I remember is this, "Sometime all people need is someone to talk to."
Maybe the jogger last night had just suffered a terrible tragedy and needed someone to talk to or maybe he was completely unaware he was on the wrong side or maybe he was just a huge asshole.  The only thing that matters was my perception because it would dictate how I reacted and I wish I had been the one to realize he may have been troubled, but I am glad to know my daughter is "what she is."