So, a bagel made me cry today. Seems crazy, right? I mean, bagels are innocuous. Soft and doughy, they are generally harmless. The only thing they’ve ever really been a threat to is my thighs. Which is why I actually don’t usually even eat bagels. I gave those babies up with white rice and potatoes in the 90s and never looked back. However, I do keep them on hand for my kiddos and husband, as a quick breakfast or snack when we need something on-the-go. This particular morning, I came in the door from my 5:45AM HIIT class, and my 8 year old little girl was awake and in the kitchen, dressed for school.
Now this is shocking because A.) It’s not even her normal wake up time of 7am, and B.) She is not a morning person. It is our morning ritual for her wake-up to consist of yells-and-whines-and-cries. (Except we take Sundays off.) It’s a blood pressure escalating exercise on my part, but she is consistent in her morning misery and very dedicated to her cause.
However, this morning-she’s awake, dressed and in the kitchen. I ask her what she is doing awake? She said that she wanted to make me some tea before I got home from my class.
This kid, sometimes she makes my heart swell. She is a constant contradiction. Sweet and sassy, temper-mental and thoughtful, never to be underestimated. I grab her, squeeze her tight, tell her that is why she’s my favorite (wink, wink), and together we start making her breakfast and packing lunches. While she eats, I go to take my sweaty self to the shower.
As I walk up the stairs she asks me why I’m not eating (?). I yell over my shoulder that I don’t have time now and that I need to get ready to go. I shower quickly, and run back down stairs to get her ready and scoot her out and onto the bus. She hops on the bus, and our pup George Bailey and I wave our goodbyes. Now poor George hates this time of day, so he sulks off to his favorite chair, and I head into the kitchen to clean up, get my oldest ready to go to school, and myself to the office.
As I clean up and wipe the counters, I see it. Next to my keys and wallet, in a bag, is tin foil. I unwrap it, and there is a bagel, toasted, still warm, with a side of cream cheese (in a little dressing holder), a plastic knife, a napkin, an apple, and my favorite tea, in my favorite thermos, all sitting there, ready to go.
And I cried.
That stupid warm and toasted bagel made me cry. That bagel made me feel loved and appreciated. Appreciation isn’t easy to come by as a parent. Most of us don’t even expect it. We gave that up 2 weeks into parenting when we realized what this parenting thing was really going to be about, and it’s not us. And that’s okay. We don’t do what we do for our families because we are looking for thanks. We don’t work as hard as we do because we are looking for a reward. We do it out of love and dedication. Some days are harder than others. And then you have a moment like this, and a kid like this, and you know for certain that you’ve really hit the jackpot in life.
Maybe I’m putting a lot of meaning into a bagel. It’s a lot of pressure to put on a little round piece of dough. But to me, it means on some level, she ‘gets it.’ Knowing that she wanted to do something to take care of me, well, that fills me with gratitude. And knowing that even when you think they don’t, they do see you, they do see what you do. And when they let you know that they actually appreciate you, you will cry. While you eat your bagel.