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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sometimes Less is More

Thanks to everyone passing along thoughts and prayers for LittleD, after the sudden death of her friend.
It's been so encouraging to see how the seventh grade girls at school and church have really pulled together to support each other. And the staff at our school has been so amazing and supportive. I'm so thankful my kids are surrounded by a network of Christian teachers who can pour on the love when they really need it.
Even with heavy hearts, the kids pulled of three performances of the school musical, dedicated to the memory of their friend, who was part of the drama team. I, and a lot of others, wondered if they could do it. But it seems the kids needed to do it to let off some steam and emotion.
We hit rock-bottom over the weekend when we went to the viewing. I think everyone in two counties showed up. It's so hard to see a 12 year-old girl lying in a casket.

This week has gone much, much better. In spite of a mighty busy work schedule the last few days. Emotionally, we had to shift gears because BabyD turned 11 this week.
Or, as she tells me, "officially pre-teen now."

We did dinner out during the week, then Party Day came Friday evening.
She invited just three friends over. The big, crazy girl party is just not her style. Unfortunately, only two of her pals could make it, but that was okay.

They were undeterred.
The girls made their own pizzas. Add strawberries, a little cake, ice cream and a Wii, and you've got the makin's for a great party.
At least that's what my guests told me.

Friend 1, eating ice cream: "You know, this is really nice."
Friend 2: "Yeah, it is."
Me: "What's nice?"
Friend 1: "Just us. Not a bunch of crazy kids running around."
Friend 2: "Or girls screaming."
BabyD: "Or acting crazy."

Wow. This is all it takes to make 11 year-olds happy?
No more Mom Guilt for me!
So I don't throw big, giant parties for my kids with bounce houses and entertainment.
Looks like less can be more!
Lesson learned.
I do still feel guilty for getting BabyD a store-bought cake this year. But the way my work week played out, there was no getting one made. I did put my own candles on it...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tough Week at Our House

No one has ever accused me of being an emotional person.
But this week is really taking it's toll on me.

LittleD lost one of her friends this week.
It finally made the news last night and this morning, and it's about to do me in seeing it recounted again and again.
She had flu-like symptoms all weekend and her parents couldn't wake her up Tuesday morning.
She was only 12. And a really, really sweet girl.

LittleD is coping with the first loss of someone her age. She's working her way through it... gradually.
I'm thankful for a great, great set of teachers and counsellors who are there to help her and her classmates cope.
Meanwhile, as a mom, I'm hurting for LittleD and her friends.
And the the family of this child. I wish I could take away the hurt for all of them.
And I'm trying like heck not to think "that could be my family".

So, I'm hanging in there until next week--which has got be better.
We just have to get through a funeral first.

"But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the
children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”. (Luke 18:16)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Parenting Milestone

It came without much fanfare, considering the milestone that has finally arrived:
LittleD is now officially a teenager.
So, now I'm officially further along in motherhood than I ever imagined.
Does this make me old?
For some reason, when I pictured myself having kids, my mental image got the child up to about the age of 5. Six, maybe.
But teenager?
Just didn't quite picture it.
I don't know how this happened so quickly, either.
Seems like just yesterday that I brought home my dark-haired baby girl in the aftermath of a snow storm. It freaks me out a little to think that in another five years she'll be heading off to college...
Although, I must say, there's a strong chance we just might kill each other before that happens!
Along with this milestone has come the hormones. And mood swings. And yelling. Followed by slamming doors.
It ain't pretty.
But I am determined.
I will prevail.
So what do modern 13-year-old girls want for their birthdays?
Let's see... a pedicure, a manicure, a Nook, (given up on the cell phone), a Facebook account... just to name a few.
So what do discerning parents who are determined not to raise an over-indulged spoiled brat give said 13 YO?
A checking account.
When the list got out of control (and out of budget!), The Husband and I opted to take LittleD over to our local Chase Bank and open a new account.
They have a no-fee student account option that we (the 'rents) can magically control via the web. (And, yes, I declined to give her overdraft protection. When that card pops up "insufficient funds" it will stop working. Good habits are formed early.)
She's had a savings account forever, but this is one that she'll be responsible for, including the debit card.
And--here's the bonus--she can buy her own birthday gift(s).
I decided it's time we put the lessons about living on a budget into action. And, when she decided to take back the ugly birthday sweater Grandma sent and found two sweaters she liked, my response was, "Buy it yourself; you've got birthday money."
That was not the answer she was expecting. Or wanting.
Nor was that the answer LittleD wanted when she wanted some candy.
But my kid is no dummy!
Three days later, LittleD plops down on the couch and asks,
"So, is this bank account a present or a punishment?"
I think the gleam is already fading from that debit card.
Meanwhile, I think my devious plan is starting to work. She's hardly spent any of the money. (Funny how you don't need certain things when you pay for them yourself!)
She's decided to save up for a Nook. Which makes me think she might be growing up even faster than I think!

Meet Me On Monday

1. Have you (only you..not a group) ever won first place in anything?
A: I won a jar of candy corn in third grade when I guessed how many.
I also won Best Halloween Costume once, where I used to work. I dressed as Jackie Kennedy at the funeral. Tacky. But it paid off.

2. Are your toes always painted (sorry guys...this question for girls only)?
A: No. It's winter, so all my toes care about are wool socks!

3. What color eyes do you have?
A: Blue. Little bloodshot, after how I slept last night!

4. Look to your left....what do you see?
A: Empty bed where The Husband will be hogging the covers in a couple hours. (Surprised there's not a kid there, wanting bedtime cuddles.)

5. Soft cookies or crunchy cookies?
A: Depends: Chocolate chip--soft. Thin Mints--crunchy.