My driver's license was only a few months old, when my sister and I climbed into my little red car to head to the mall. I remember my dad had just come home from the night shift and was wearing pajamas and slippers.
As he often did, he must have been watching from the front window as we pulled away.
I had a lot to learn about the proper use of rear view and side view mirrors, and so it was that I clipped the front bumper of our neighbour's parked car, while reversing from our driveway. There was a crunch and a slight lift of both cars. My sister yelped and I put the car into drive. She rolled her window down to look for damage. There didn't seem to be any, so we made the split-second decision to keep going.
Imagine the horror, when we caught sight of our stone-faced father plowing through the food court in his slippers.
You get back in your car right now. You drive home and you knock on our neighbour's door and you tell him what happened!
Though I have no doubt my shaky driving skills were more than enough to scare him, my driving was never the point of our later discussions about the incident.
His greater fear was raising kids who didn't do the right thing.
And now that I'm a parent, I get it.
This past weekend, my 11-year-old daughter put my 17-year-old self to shame.
She did the right thing.
Even though the circumstances were no fault of her own, she still made the harder choice.
Truth? I wanted to let her off the hook.
She didn't deserve the heartache that I knew would come.
She sat and watched the team she has trained with for months and months, while they performed in a competition. Even though she couldn't participate because of an injury, she cheered and clapped and let her cheeks flush with joy on their behalf.
It was only when we were alone, that she let the tears of disappointment fall.
I wanted to let her stay home, even though I knew it contradicted the very essence of team.
She's just a little girl, after all.
But it turns out you don't need age to have wisdom.
And the heart that dances across stages and brings me to tears, is the very same one that kept her in that seat—a good heart.
The right heart.