Anna and I drive downtown almost every Monday evening when I teach Spinning, we park the car in a metered spot around Kerrytown, and we stop in to see our friend Jake before Blake picks Anna up for their evening together.
Anna loves to put the money in the meters when we park. Quite often, if I happen to have enough change to do so, I'll suggest that we add some money to the meter of the car that's parked next to us, especially if their meter has run out.
Today, before we even parked the car, Anna excitedly asked, "Can I put the money in the meter?"
"Of course," I replied.
Then, she filled my heart. Unprompted, she asked "Can we put money in the other meter, too, for the other car who needs it?"
I beamed as I rummaged around in my purse for change, sadly pulling out just enough to get us through until Blake arrived. "We don't have enough. I suppose we could go into this store and get change for a dollar, though." I honestly figured she'd be in a hurry to see Jake and not interested in another stop along the way.
She replied in a very determined, matter-of-fact tone. "Yes, yes, mom. We should definitely do that."
And, we did. And, she (and I) smiled proudly and happily as she filled up an empty parking meter for someone we don't know.
Sometimes, even when you feel like they may be learning by example only the things you wish they'd forget you've done, they surprise you.