Yesterday morning I got a call on my cell phone. It was my mother-in-law calling from my house, where she was watching Beth and making sure she got off to school. She wanted me to talk to my daughter about her suspiciously sudden illness (right before it was time to leave for school).
I talked to Beth for about ten minutes and convinced her that staying home sick wouldn’t be much fun (I figure a day recuperating without going outside can be rather boring if you’re not really sick). So off to school she went. About an hour later my mother-in-law called me back to reassure me that Beth did get to school. We talked about Beth’s suspicious illness, and she allowed as how it was right after she took her medicine; but we both agreed that she took the same medication ever morning (for months) without getting sick.
“Yeah, she should be just fine as long as she takes it with food like she’s supposed to. She took it after breakfast, right?”
“Well, not right after, but I hadn’t been here all that long after you gave her breakfast.”
“I thought you were going to give her breakfast?”
“No, Cheryl usually gives it to her before I get here.”
If you thought I felt guilty after being wrong about her “sudden illness,” imagine how much worse I felt being the cause. I’m an adult, I can be grown up about this, fast forward to the evening,
“Beth, I’ve got an important lesson for you here. Listen carefully to what I’m about to say, it’s something called ‘shifting blame’,. ‘Beth, why didn’t you tell me or Mem-may that you were hungry and needed to eat breakfast? You’re old enough to get something to eat if you’re hungry.'”
Here ends the lesson.