Fall Transition Outfit No. 3 and Summer Revelations

Today means that there is just one more full week before my kids go back to school. It’s been nice having them around because I’ve been able to learn little things about them that I didn’t know before.

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Fall Transition Outfit No. 2 and the American Dream

Last week, one of my neighbor’s kids knocked on my door in the middle of the afternoon. When I opened it, he said “We are selling lemonade and muffins. Do you want some?” I looked across my yard and sure enough, there was his brother and another neighbor’s daughter sitting at two tables loaded with goodies, an umbrella to keep the sun at bay and a few handwritten signs. I told him I needed to get some money and would be right over. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who they queried. The kids took turns running up and down the street, knocking on doors, asking people to come outside and have some lemonade and muffins. They had all their earnings in a Mason jar. I loved that these little entrepreneurs were trying their hands at the American Dream. Maybe they will expand their operation next year to run all summer long. Continue reading “Fall Transition Outfit No. 2 and the American Dream”

Fall Transition Outfit No. 1 and a Rare Compliment

When you’re a mom of teens, compliments from them to you do not come fast and furious. At least not in my household. My teens seem to be mainly concerned about themselves. I don’t say that to be insulting or critical; it’s just a fact of life in Teen World. But last week, I received a compliment from one of my boys and it’s one of those moments that will stay with me forever.

Before my son Hunter had his knee surgery in July, he went on a hike with some of his friends. He said they were complaining about their troubled relationships with their mothers. I think at one point they looked at him to add some validation to their diatribes and he said, “Honestly guys, I don’t have that type of relationship with my mom. She is actually a lot of fun and I like being around her.”

Say What?

I asked him if he really said that or was he telling me he said that just to make me feel good. He assured me that he said that.

Wow. I know I felt my eyes well up with tears but I didn’t want him to see that because you, know, teens don’t want to be caught hanging with their crying mom. So I turned around quickly, grabbed that moment and locked it away till later.

And when it was later, I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said. Remember Sally Field at the Oscars (yes, I’m that old). You like me! You really like me! I was Sally Field in all her tearful glory. My son actually liked me and he wasn’t afraid to tell his friends. I’m welling up again.

Parent Performance Evaluations?

In a blended family of step-kids and step-parents, the blending takes time. Even when the blender is going really strong, things don’t always come out as smoothly as we’d like. But my husband and I try our hardest to ensure that each one of our kids knows that we love him no matter what.

Sometimes, it is hard to know how we’re doing. At work, most people are evaluated on their performance. I always knew I did well based on my boss’ feedback, the scores in my evaluation and subsequent raise. But parents don’t receive a performance evaluation (unless you base it on the number of rolled eyes, grunts and time spent in their bedrooms as feedback from teens), and we certainly don’t receive a raise from our kids. Sometimes it feels like we’re just grasping in the dark. But then you hear a compliment from your kid masked in a story about an afternoon out with friends, and all I can say is that I’ll take that over a raise any day.

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