In the last couple of years I have needed to wear eyeglasses for driving. My perfect vision has joined my perfect skin and has skipped off into Never-again-land. I’ve secretly always wanted to wear glasses because they can be a great accessory. Eyeglasses are magical, they can transform you into “sexy smart” woman or “oh my she needs a shower” woman. Here in Sweden, I wear mostly old sweatpants and jeans so you can guess which look I usually attain.
I went to retrieve my eyeglasses so I could drive into town. They weren’t on the table but had somehow found their way to the windowsill in the kitchen. I put them on my face and realized they were horribly bent, frame and all. I turned to discuss this event with the usual suspects, my children. Max was with his father at his grandparents’ house but Ryan was home with me. I launched into Italian mother mode, waving my hands and loudly asking him what happened to my glasses.
Ryan looked at me and quietly said “I broke them three days ago.”
“Three days ago!” I exclaimed. “You not only BROKE my glasses but you’ve hidden this from me? You have got to be kidding me!” Smoke started to wisp out of my ears. It has been a very challenging summer with the minions. “Get your shoes on and get in the car!” I then texted my husband to tell him we were on our way and besides, misery really loves company and I wanted to share my frustration.
During the short ride to my in-laws I continued to scold Ryan. I told him that accidents happen but to hide something like this was inexcusable. I told him he has to pay for a new set of glasses and outlined the different jobs he could do. Ryan sat there with his chin up and did not utter a sound except to tell me he would work it off. When we pulled up to his grandparents’ house, Rikard came out of the garage and I reviewed the incident and the jobs Ryan would have to complete to pay off his debt. Max was on the swing set and overheard the conversation. He came running up to where the three of us were standing.
“Don’t yell at Ryan! I BROKE them! He’s covering for me!”
Big blue eyes looked at me and my son Ryan said “I didn’t want Max to get into trouble.”
I started to tear up. Ryan started to tear up. Max looked at us as if we were nuts. Rikard hugged his sons.
In that moment I knew that even in the middle of all the chaos, I must be doing something right. To be a good brother, to protect his sibling and to show such strength of character is not something others attain. So I quietly told them there would be no punishment. I told Ryan that I was incredibly proud of his strength and quiet dignity and sacrifice for his brother, I told Max that I was proud of his willingness to accept blame and to come forward with his admission. There wasn’t a dry eye as my family hugged each other.
In that moment my kids felt really proud of themselves. I felt a bit astonished and was at a loss for words. I texted my eldest son about the situation because quite honestly, he has been a defining role model in their lives. I have caught him covering for them a number of times and it’s obvious that they have learned some of their lessons from him.
My kids continue to surprise me. Through broken glasses, I am seeing my kids more clearly. What do you see when you look at your kids, your spouse and at yourself? When you really look at success, character is what is truly worthwhile.