practicing kindness in little ways: a gentle approach to daily life

It’s late Sunday evening, around 9pm.

I notice my oldest munchkin at her usual ritual. She’s sitting at the dinner table, absorbed in her snacks and her Facebook scrolling. It’s one of the few times she emerges from her den. I’m annoyed at her for bolting away from dinner earlier and avoiding chores. She’s barely a few years from adulthood, and we’re not at all confident she has any skills outside of the classroom.

She’ll need those sooner than I want to imagine.

I text Master,
Are you going to talk to her?
Not the right time, he responds.

I really want to say something– but he says out loud, “Hey, can we offend your mom?” What?

I get up off the couch to join them at the table. “Your cookies,” he said. “They’re better than your mom’s. Don’t you think so, [name of munchkin]?” She nods eagerly and continues eating her cookie.

I sit down with her and take a cookie myself. “Thanks,” I say. “Want to play [name of our special game]?” She’s about to leave the table, but quickly sits back down. “Sure!”

We play for a few minutes. It does not go how we want, but we determinedly shrug forward, anyway. We’re happy that it doesn’t go worse. I wonder, though, if she’s reflecting me, just a little. I never get mad when the game goes poorly, though I do sometimes make outraged exclamations when deserved.

In return, she’s not given up on this game with me in five years. Even though it disappoints us on a regular basis. It’s still fun and it’s still a source of laughter. Something we do together, usually right before bed. I remember my mother reading stories to me every night, even through high school. But this can be another thing, too. It doesn’t have to be the same as my own experiences.

A part of me thinks I’m putting off talking about responsibilities. But it’s okay. It’s just living life. Tomorrow, perhaps, we’ll have more difficult talks. But tonight? I simply want to enjoy this moment.

There won’t always be moments like this, after all.

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