A challenging relationship

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She tells me what to do.

I cringe and then go against her advice. While I appreciate her counsel, I think I know better what to do.

Forgiving me, she adjusts. Then she offers another piece of advice.

Again, I disregard it. I feel bad, but she just doesn’t understand the situation as well as I do. Is it me or is it her? Am I too picky, too pig-headed? Or is she giving bad counsel?

Without a word, she lets it go. Then she bravely offers more guidance.

I doubt its wisdom. So, I ignore her once again, wondering when she’s going to cut me off. Can she truly forgive me 70 X 7 times? When will I have gone too far? Will we pass a point when the relationship cannot be salvaged?

Undaunted, she suggests another course. Surely I will see the sense of her instruction this time.

I just don’t think she’s right, so I go my own way. Before she can reject me, though, I decide to reject her.

Siri, this just isn’t working out. I’m going to turn you off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mean Mom: middle school edition

In a few short months, my oldest daughter will graduate from elementary school and become a middle schooler. (Hold me.) In addition to all the perennial challenges of the junior high years—hormones, mean girls, a larger school, kids who party—we must figure out how to navigate social media and smart phones.

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How I prefer she spend her time. Outside, playing badminton.

For the first time in my parenting, I cannot look to my parents’ model or that of my wise friends with older kids. Even five years ago, smart phones were far less ubiquitous than they are today. My cabinet cannot help me here because when their daughters were in middle school, flip phones were socially acceptable. Snapchat hadn’t been invented.  Today, 50% of kids have smart phones in 6th grade and 90% have them by 8th grade.

Continue reading “Mean Mom: middle school edition”

Why I don’t write at home

Every Tuesday—-my writing day—-I go to the same local coffee shop. The tables are numerous, the food delicious, and the coffee adequate. I often run into friends there.

Today I sat down at a corner table with four seats. The shop was half empty when I arrived, and I felt okay taking a large table even though I was by myself. After a steady stream of customers trickled in, the shop started to feel crowded. I kept looking around, feeling uncomfortable, wondering if it was time for me to move to a smaller table (in a less desirable location). It was getting awkward, but my love of the corner spot kept me in my seat.

After I’d been there an hour, an older African American man approached me and politely said, Could we have a couple of your chairs, Ma’am? I decided this was my cue. Would you like to trade tables with me? I really don’t need this space, I said.

He looked at me as though I had offered him a hundred dollar bill.  Continue reading “Why I don’t write at home”

Living Local

Much has been written on the importance of buying local.  From shopping at farmers markets to joining local farm share programs to buying “a quarter” of a nearby cow, we are learning to buy our food from producers within a certain mile radius of our homes.  This is major progress for both our diets and our society.

I want to encourage us to not only buy local, but also to live local.  Imagine confining our weekly activities to within a five mile radius of our homes.  My philosophy is that the more often we do something, the closer to our homes it should be.

For instance, recreation.  Why do the traveling hockey league when you can do the local park and rec league? Continue reading “Living Local”

Who I’m Sending Valentines To

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My husband is not into receiving cards or gifts on Valentine’s Day.  He is far more blessed by me cleaning the garage than by me getting him a card.  The romance is never-ending over here.  My kids, on the other hand, are only in it for the sugar.  Candy hearts, chocolates, lollipops, heck yeah! Meaningful cards, meh.

This means that I have holiday energy to burn (even after I clean the garage).  So, I like to look around and find other people who might benefit from a valentine or a little note.  I usually cast my eye in two directions: Continue reading “Who I’m Sending Valentines To”

Sewing My Net (or Why I’ll Probably Never Have a Mudroom)

In my experience, everyone has one dominant value that drives most of their choices.  For some, frugality is the value that guides their decision-making.  For others, it is convenience and efficiency.  For many, it is the desire to get the very best for their kids.  Yes, most of us also have secondary and tertiary values that also influence the choices we make, but I think most of us have a gut instinct that is heavily influenced by one dominant value, maybe two.

My highest value, the one that drives my decisions, is relationships.  In everything I do I want there to be a relational payoff.  Questions like Will I meet people who I will be able to see again?, Does this activity embed me further in existing relationships?, and How can I match up my friends and acquaintances with each other? drive my choices.  Most of the time, this is at a subconscious level.  I am acting according to my value of relationships without even realizing it.

For my husband, the dominant value is honoring the earth.   Continue reading “Sewing My Net (or Why I’ll Probably Never Have a Mudroom)”