My darling daughter has an amazing dance teacher who likes to remind her that sometimes in life you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug. Such an important lesson! This isn’t about whether it is fair or unfair, it just is. This is something we can apply in all areas of our life:
- My daughter was disappointed her dance had not scored higher at a dance competition. It wasn’t “fair” because the judges were “biased” and only liked hip hop.
Well, my dear, that is how it is sometimes. Sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug.
- A client expressed frustration that I “always” win when we play board games in session. (I don’t cheat to let kids win – I think it sets a bad precedent.
Sorry, buddy, but sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug.
- A friend was pulled over for speeding and received a rather hefty traffic fine. She was extremely frustrated because “everyone else” was speeding and she was the only one pulled over.
Well, that sucks, but sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug.
- A family member (who will not be named) was upset because a co-worker was promoted over her despite her perception that she was a much harder worker, a more diligent employee and generally better suited for the new position.
I get your frustration, but sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug.
I have had many experiences in my own life when, unfortunately, I have been the bug. I have not enjoyed those experiences, not once. I have found it important to keep perspective, though, because there have also been numerous times when I have gotten to be the windshield. All too often we focus on how much it sucks to be the bug that we lose sight of all the wonderful windshield experiences we have had.
Has this happened to you? I’d love to hear more examples of when you’ve been the bug AND times you’ve gotten to be the windshield. I can tell you in my daughter’s dance situation there have definitely been times when she has placed over kids who danced much better than she did that day. (Please don’t tell her I said that…) On those days, she got to be the windshield.
Do you remember that scene in Pretty Woman when Vivian (the prostitute played by Julia Roberts) is talking to Edward (the billionaire played by Richard Gere) about the punch his attorney, Stuckey (played by Jason Alexander) threw at her? She wonders how boys always know how to punch a woman and make it feel like her eye is about to explode. She asks if boys are taken aside in gym class and taught this “skill”. Of course they aren’t and, as Edward Lewis points out, not all boys hit.
I am wondering if someone has taken my ten-year-old aside and has been giving her tips on how to be a teenager. I don’t mean the eye rolling and deep sighs – she has that down already. I’m talking more about psychological warfare. Let me explain. The other day my daughter and husband were hanging out and she looked at him and said, “I love you Dad.” He smiled and said, “I love you, too, peanut. Will you still love me when you are a teenager?” Her response? “Of course I will. It just won’t always feel like I do.” Seriously. Who took her aside and gave her this little piece of insight?
I now have visions of older girls at the dance studio laying out the game plan. I have can imagine a huge chalkboard with lessons detailing how to keep your parents on their toes and how to never allow them to be fully comfortable while parenting a teenager. There are Xs and Os detailing each person’s position and offensive and defensive plays.
Lord, we are in trouble.
Have you ever had one of those conversations that you prepared for and worried about and practiced… only to have it end up being absolutely no big deal? You almost feel let down that there is no big emotional explosion because your spent so much time preparing for it. Somehow it is almost like you have been cheated. We had one of those yesterday with our daughter, Charlie, who is 10 years old.
Charlie has been playing along with us for years on the whole Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy thing, and though we suspected she “knew” the truth, she never acknowledged it to us. Jason (my husband) and I decided it was time to have “the talk”. We wanted to let her into the grown up club because we suspected she was onto us and, if not, we didn’t want her to get teased for still believing. C’mon – 10 is kind of old for Santa.
So… we created this amazing game plan and practically scripted the whole interaction. We planned to take her out for a walk after Easter dinner and discuss it all. We thought the fresh air might calm her down. We walked a long for a bit and then I asked THE QUESTION – something along the lines of, “Where are you at with this whole Easter bunny thing?”. Smooth, I know. Charlie then got a smirk on her face and said, “I know it is you and Daddy.” We were a little stunned. She then continued, “Same for Santa.” We then asked with a little quiver in our voices, “What about the Tooth Fairy”. Her response with a shrug, “You.”
Well, crap. She then broke it to us that she has known for several years and had been playing along for two reasons: 1. It seemed really important to us and 2. She was afraid the fun and gifts might stop. We assured her that we were OK and that we still loved the holidays and nothing would change our celebration.
I have to admit, I felt a little let down, but also a little relieved that all the sneaking around was over. This was confirmed by her last comment on the subject – “You know, you don’t have to put the Tooth Fairy money under my pillow anymore. You can just hand it to me in exchange for the tooth.” Great. Like a crack deal.