To Be Cool

When I had children, I knew that I would be a cool parent.

My kids were going to be fully aware that the only thing a stork carries as he flies over our house is a strain of bird flu. When it comes time for “the talk,” we — my husband and I — were going to be honest and open for any questions.

From the time my children could talk, I thought it necessary to call a body part what it was. None of the cutesy little names like oo-ah’s and tete’s for my kids. This was all in preparation for the questions they would have later. I was determined to answer those inquiries better than my parents.

While I loved my mom, when it came to “the talk,” she simply said, “That’s none of your business, Becky. You talk too much.” I couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Yes, my parents were raised in a different time, where having the talk meant giving your children brochures and telling them to see the school nurse with any questions. But there had to be a better way.

My decision to be open with my kids was derailed for a short time when I was pregnant with my youngest and my oldest asked me how the baby was going to get out. I knew this was a pivotal moment for my little boy.

He was almost 5. I gave him an answer and he was satisfied. No more questions. He was brilliant. The next day I picked him up from preschool. After the teacher buckled his seatbelt, she looked at me and said with an enthusiastic tone, “He was so excited today! He let everyone in the class know that his new brother was going to come out of his mama’s BAGINA.” That should have been my first clue that maybe it’s better if the stork visits instead of honesty.

When I hear people fret about how they are dreading the talk, I don’t understand. I say the more uncomfortable the better. In other words, BRING IT! This probably has a lot to do with me being so cool. Granted my children were 10 and 5 at the time, I was too dumb to realize that when you say something like, “BRING IT,” you better be prepared for something very uncomfortable to get brought.

It turns out, I wasn’t as cool as I thought I was back then. Or now, for that matter. Although, I do have a pretty woke playlist. (My children hate when I use slang, for reelz.)

Anywho, at the same time, I chastised my friends for not talking openly with their daughters, about that inevitable step of womanhood, I was secretly thanking God that I didn’t have to worry about that talk. You know…since I have boys (insert sarcasm).

Then one morning while my boys and I were getting ready for school, my oldest said, “Mom, what’s a period?” Before answering, I thought about how this could be yet another pivotal moment in his life.  “It’s what comes after a sentence. You talk too much, Jackson.”

You can reach Becky Andrews at


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The Purge

This weekend, we did something that all family’s dread.

I had put it off long enough but finally marched up those stairs.

It had to be done!

I knew it. and they knew it.

And it was going to be horrible.

My pitiful children followed behind me with garbage bags in hand. We were going to be at this for hours, days even.

Yes…the time had come to clean out their closets. Oh, the horror!

The annual cleaning out of the closets is a precursor to winter school clothes shopping. And with it being almost November….I was cutting it close.

How my children accumulate masses of clothes is beyond me. But they do. And by the end of fall, these clothes can be found stuffed in random drawers, under their bed, on top of the armoire, in each other’s rooms, on the floor and sometimes, just sometimes, in their actual closets.

Hundreds of socks in all sizes and colors are dumped in the hall as we try to find pairs. Jeans and skirts they forgot they bought are found. And usually, I’ll find at least five items belonging to my husband and I.

“So that’s where my yoga pants are! In Neill’s closet, why of course!”

We toile for hours, and with each passing hour, I become more and more irritable.

“This still has the tag on it! Why do you have five of the same blue polos? This is my belt!”

“No, I’m not giving this away because it’s ugly. When you asked me to spend $30 on it, it wasn’t ugly!”

“Yes, if it doesn’t fit Madison, then it moves to your closet. That’s the role of the younger sister. She wears hand me downs. Look it up.”

Back and forth. Back and forth. We carry on for hours.

Sometimes they try to escape, and I’ll turn to find one gone. I wouldn’t notice but for the fact their sibling immediately outs them.

“Bring me more garbage bags,” I yell to the one now hiding downstairs.

Drawer by drawer, closet by closet, we fill bags to the brim with too short pajama pants, mustard-stained polos, out of style cargo shorts and shoes whose match is long gone.

We also reorganize, color code and finally see the bottom of everyone’s closet.

Why yes…the carpet is still there!

And at the end of the day, we drag bag after bag downstairs and then proceed to pass out from exhaustion.

Rest up. Tomorrow we shop for new school clothes.

Oh, the horror!

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If the Boot Fits

Since childhood, I’ve cleaned, pruned and organized my closet space at least 200 times.

As a child, it was much harder to throw out or giveaway stuffed animals, extra monopoly game pieces and plastic jewelry. I had no problem throwing out clothes that no longer fit. It wasn’t a big deal to get rid of those blue jeans with a bright rainbow embroidered on the back pocket. They didn’t fit. Of course, that’s when I was 10 years old. Not quite old enough to realize that the number on the scale or dress label would somehow validate how good or bad I should feel for most of my life.

As a teenager and young adult, an item of clothing not fitting became a challenge. In my mind, life was better when those shorts fit. The thinner me was always happier me.

Last week, after reading a blog on how to transform your life by incorporating Feng shui, I went on a cleaning spree. In my closet, I found a pair of shorts, a red velvet dress (no idea?) and a pair of Union Bay jeans. All from college. All too small…by A LOT!  All completely out of style.

It wasn’t like this was the first time seeing these items since 1993. I have packed and unpacked all three 11 times. But seeing them during my Feng shui attack, I was horrified. In truth, the Union Bay jeans should have been given away in 1995. All have been too small since 1998. But I kept them around. Even after children. But why?!

They didn’t represent a happier me. A thinner me, yes. A happier me, not really. And they weren’t making me particularly cheerful these days either. If anything, they had become my albatross. Keeping me stuck between the Spin Doctors and Adele, dark brown matte lipstick and gloss, belted, high waist and boot cut. Clothing I couldn’t suck in enough to pull past my knees was now giving me anxiety. It wasn’t the extra 15 pounds I’ve been trying to lose since my 24th birthday that was making me feel bad: They were making me feel bad!

Anytime any item of clothing feels tight, I stress. That doesn’t help matters since I’m a “stress eater” and I generally stress about everything. I eat my feelings, and my feelings taste like chocolate, salt and vinegar potato chips, cheesecake and popcorn.

Keeping those stupid dated clothes around had not done a thing for my self-esteem over the years. So I decided to do something different. I tried to find ways to repurpose them, but I’m no good at Pinterest projects so instead, I tossed them.

A weight was lifted. Not a 15-pound weight. But still, I felt lighter. Since college, my tummy has gotten softer, my arteries harder and my mind a bit wiser. Clothing, relationships and politics; sometimes the things we once loved doesn’t fit into our lives anymore. But one day you realize that you can’t punish yourself any longer for something that just doesn’t fit. And at 43, nothing feels better than wearing nice pants that fit…after eating a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips.

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Focusing on What Matters

“Divisive” seems to be the go-to adjective for describing the political climate these days.

A few years ago, I believed politics (or politicians, on occasion) illustrated that even though you may disagree on most issues, somewhere along the way, all sides could find common ground. Nowadays, it looks more like two teams brawling like the Socs and Greasers in an odd social media rumble.

Politics is supposed to be about working toward compromise for the greater good, right? My husband and I have worked this way for years. Sometimes he wins and gets to stay home all day on Sunday instead of going to a birthday dinner for my sister. I mean, who else is going to make sure my patio chair doesn’t float away? And sometimes I win, and our cat gets to sleep on his side of the bed. Or when it comes to money, sometimes he wins, and we use any extra money to pay down our mortgage or put in savings. Sometimes I win by not telling him about any extra money we have. We get there, and if we leave his cat allergies out of the argument, we do so in a way that doesn’t disrupt our lives.

Lately, the divisiveness of politics has infiltrated conversations in our offices, our homes, our churches, our schools, our grocery stores, our doctors’ offices, our Facebook newsfeed. If this phenomenon could be viewed under a microscope, it probably looks like a mutated strain of SARS or maybe an unnamed STD.

Some of us have taken to social media to share articles, memes or websites that align with our political beliefs and declare that if anyone disagrees, “then we are no longer friends!” I’ve done the same. I’ve allowed how people respond to protests or health-care bills determine their friendship worthiness or their worthiness in general. Arrogant much, Becky?

Even if I didn’t make it official by posting that a particular group of people were no longer my friends if they support a State Rep or Congressman I don’t personally agree with, I had already marked them off. Albeit most were people I didn’t know beyond Twitter or Facebook, but some were people I’ve known since elementary school. People who were there when my children were born, when Jay’s dad and my mom died. They were there for birthday parties, school plays, graduations, baseball games, track meets. They are funny, kind, good people.

I remember reading through a Facebook friend’s comments on a post about last year’s presidential election. It was like watching the Mayweather/ McGregor match. Only, in this case, there wasn’t a multi-million-dollar prize waiting for each winner.

You knew how it would end but still had to watch blow-by-blow. No matter how long the fight went on, no one would be declared the winner and both (and all the people who watched the exchange from our iPad’s/laptops/PC’s) would leave the ring worse for wear.

Both keyboard competitors were prepared with facts and statistics, but fighter No. 1 had been in this rink before and knew how to pace themselves. Fighter No. 2 had passion and time to fact-check. No one won. No one changed their mind and said, “You know what? I didn’t think about it that way.” Or, “I understand what you’re saying, but this is what I believe.” If either felt like they weren’t being heard, the personal insults commenced. It was an emotional knockout, for everyone.

It was sad to watch but more disturbing to be a part of the online crowd watching. It made me feel anxious about what the future holds for our sanity and our children’s sanity, not just our country.

We are better than this. Spewing vitriol at each other about issues that have nothing to do with politics, purely based on a someone’s party line.

So, I decided to stop. I stopped trying to make someone see my point of view. I stopped spending time fact-checking trending stories. I’ve pretty much stopped watching and reading the news. I stopped worrying about things that politicians, news outlets or family members say I should worry about, in favor of focusing my attention on what does matter.

And right now, what matters is my family and our collective sanity. We have very little to spare, so I consider this a public service. And I don’t care if we never agree on politics. If we can agree that real butter is better than margarine and Betty White is going to live forever, I will love you and respect you for what makes you so uniquely you.




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The Real Cost of Gas

I’ve been consistent lately with working out. I’ve found a little slice of heaven inside the walls of a yoga studio. Never mind this heaven can be more than 100 degrees with 30-percent humidity. But a few weeks ago, I thought I would need to hide my head in shame and never return because of something silly.

What happened, you ask? I passed gas during yoga. It was quiet; the room, not the gas. At first, this group of seriously, flexible yogis was too focused on perfecting their Warrior III to pay attention. No one knew until the moment it became clear that “silent and deadly’s” aren’t always silent. I could tell by the look on everyone’s face; they’d caught wind of my secret. Our dear instructor must have sensed my angst as she softly said, “stay with your breath. Come back to your intention.” I started chanting my intention in my mind. “don’t do it again, don’t do it again.” Unfortunately, this had the opposite effect.

I was sweating profusely. Mostly because the room was nearly 100 degrees with 40-percent humidity, but I’m sure my flatulence was responsible for at least a few of those beads. If I could make it a few more minutes, the class would be over, and I’d be in the clear. Then it happened again. They were building strength as I’m certain I heard a thud of someone passing out behind me.

What should I do? What should I say? Do I say anything? Should I close my eyes like instructed OR should I just play the ghost fart card and hightail it outta there, so everyone thinks the cute little brunette sitting to my left is responsible. Who am I kidding? She doesn’t have a look for anything other than Zen perfection. If she is a gasser, it probably smells like a mix between fresh flowers and unicorn dust, which I hear smells heavenly.

Me? I look the part. Or at least I felt like I looked the part at that moment. Two dustings later and I made a promise to God, Betty White, Oprah (and anyone else I could think of) that I would NEVER again eat cauliflower, eggs, chocolate chip cookies, beef jerky or Sour Patch Kids. I essentially went through everything I had eaten the previous six days. I then made a mental note that I need to rethink my diet.

Even though I was sure everyone knew it was me, they didn’t show it. For me, it was torture. I’ve heard someone do this in class before and I always catch myself before I giggle out loud. I can’t help it. No matter how old or educated I get, fart jokes will always be funny. This was my payback. This boiling anxiety was payback for all the years I laughed at inappropriate jokes or the fact that I don’t use the phrase “passing gas” more than its less sophisticated cousin, fart.

As class ended, everyone slowly came out of their respective floor poses. This was it. No one noticed. I exhaled for real this time because I stared humiliation in the face and said, “please, please, please don’t do this today.”

Before standing, I made eye contact with my neighbor and gave the international facial expression for “damn, that was hot.” I couldn’t believe I wasted an entire hour worried. When I stood, it happened (again!). Everyone including the adorable little yogi sitting next to me would now be able to put a face with a…whatever.

I had two choices. I could either ignore it (again!) and never show my face at the studio OR I could be an adult about this. I glanced at my yogi neighbor as we exited class and said, “Did you hear what that butthole said?”

Kidding. I did not say that because saying that is not very adult-like. I simply held my head high and told the instructor I would see her next week. Embarrassment is a high price to pay for a little gas, but it’s worth it to continue my yoga practice. Namaste.

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The Perks

I’ve been so forlorn lately with the prospect of No. 2 heading off to college after this school year that I almost completely forgot about No. 3.

And then I opened my freezer.

Only to find hundreds of frozen bug eyes staring back at me. And just like that, the school year has begun.

Bug projects, school photos, study guides, homecoming events, never-ending school emails and the list goes on and on.

When we had three little kids at home, my motto often was …. cut it out, glue it down and we are done!

Because nobody has time for that!

The difference though between three kids at home vs one is these days, my motto is… let’s do it together. Just you and I.

Because, at this point in my life, I’ve got nothing but time!

We often go out to dinner now, just Brody, myself and No. 3. We watch him eat, we follow his every move, we hang on his every word.

I was a first born. My brother was the baby. I always thought he was treated particularly well after I left home. Now I’m certain of it.

No. 2 can see the writing on the wall.

“Did you just move a television into Neill’s room? Madison and I were never allowed to even watch television!”

“You let him go to the fair on a school night. What is going on?”

“Are you letting him eat food in the den? You never let us do that!! Hello? Who is parenting him?? That’s his second Coke tonight!! Hello???”

And she is right.

No. 3 gets special treatment. Not because he is No. 3. Not because he is a boy. But because he is my last one.

Maybe it’s wrong. Actually, I’m sure it is. I don’t even care. No. 2 has started compiling her dorm room supply list. She’s made her choice! No. 3 is all I have left.

So while I made the girls find and freeze their own bugs, for No. 3, I’m right along with him as we capture, freeze dry and then pin down spiders, wasps and all sorts of nasty little creatures.

When it was three little kids at home, life was a chaotic blur of fast food dinners, racing between soccer and dance and Halloween outfits that (if I’m being honest) were subpar.

For him, I make banana bread each Sunday so that he can have a warm slice all week. We get to his football games an hour early, just to watch him practice. For Halloween this year, we are hosting a teenage goblin party!

No. 1 has even called home to complain that she is hearing No. 3 is being spoiled.

“Zoe told me that Neill is getting a Polaris. Have you gone insane! She and I had to walk the garbage bins down a gravel driveway all our lives. She said you said it was too far for him to walk!!”

Did I mention that my brother didn’t leave home until he got married at 25? He still lives in Memphis near my parents. They vacation together twice a year and have Sunday lunch together each week.

Now I get it.

Well played, Mom and Dad. Well played!

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On Hope, And Not Losing It

When something bad happens, that bad can reach in and pull the breath right out of your gut. It feels like suffocating. But as your arms flail and you gasp for air, the light turns green, traffic starts to move, pedestrians take to the cross walk. No one notices. It’s as if the people in cars, on cross walks, in the grocery or at the DMW don’t care or don’t feel the shift on the planet when life as you know it forever changed.

I remember going to the grocery the day after my mom died. It was late afternoon in the summer and the store was busy. This infuriated me. As if this completely normal scene for a grocery store in the middle of summer wasn’t enough, a teenage girl breezed by as she was smarting off to her mother. I wanted to get on the loudspeaker and shout, “What is wrong with you people! My mom is gone! Now please be sad like me at least while I pick up diapers and hotdogs! You can go back to whatever you were doing when the proper respect has been paid to my mom, WHO IS DEAD! And as for you, smart mouth teenage girl. One day your mom won’t be here for you to roll your eyes at!” Makes perfect sense, right? While I didn’t get on the loudspeaker or even scream, in that moment reality hit. Life goes on. While the reality may change, everything else…goes on.

It would be nice if someone wrote an etiquette book on how to get back to normal after loss. Something to prepare you for the jarring reality that there’s an expiration date on your grief. Grief over the loss of anything; death of a person, relationship, job, or life you expected. Once that date comes and goes, it’s time to buck up and get over it. That’s what it feels like anyway.

But then something happens. After weeks, months, or years, your inner dialog does an about-face. Instead of,

I wish I could feel normal again.


Will life ever be the same?

You realize you were never normal and since life is an ever-changing, ever-evolving windstorm of existence, the days would be boring if they stayed the same.

Here’s the cold hard truth. There is no timeline. There’s no magic day. No rhyme or reason as to why one year you cry on your mom’s birthday and the next you realize her birthday passed without so much as a sniffle.

All you can do is stay hopeful. And hope doesn’t look the same on everyone. Some find hope in prayer. Others find it through exercise or food or children or scrapbooking. I happen to find it through all of those. Except for scrapbooking, never been a fan.

The point is “hope” is waiting. And sometimes hope is all you have to cling to. Without it, how could life go on? Choosing hope doesn’t mean you’re getting all Polly Anna. It doesn’t mean you don’t care. If you think about it, choosing hope really doesn’t mean anything specific. It means everything.

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Dear Abby, Help?

Dear Abby,

I am a married mother with two children, both boys. If you add my husband I really have three boys. If you add the boys who sleep over every weekend during the school year and most days and nights on summer break, I have 10-12 boys. Anywho, the reason I’m writing is to get your professional opinion on whether or not I’m experiencing the normal anxiety over my oldest child heading off to college.

I am a married mother with two children, both boys. If you add my husband I really have three boys. If you add the boys who sleep over every weekend during the school year and most days and nights on summer break, I have 10-12 boys. Anywho, the reason I’m writing is to get your professional opinion on whether or not I’m experiencing the normal anxiety over my oldest child heading off to college.

To be honest, I wouldn’t be writing if I had the time it takes to find and visit a good therapist who specializes in parent/teenager relationships. I’m not even positive you still answer these things. The last time I saw one of your columns, I was in college. One was always hanging on my mom and dad’s refrigerator. Every time I’d visit, Mom would release it from her “I lost my ass in Vegas” magnet and read it to me.

Back to my oldest. For the first four years of his life, he had my undivided attention. We did everything together. I tried to parent the “right” way. I read to him every day, kept him on a strict sleeping/eating schedule and I even thought about using cloth diapers (that’s got to count for something, right?). My older sister, who is also the mother of two boys, would often warn me about those tough teen years. I knew my oldest would be different. And he was, until somewhere between the ages of 14 and 15.

We hit a good stride the summer before his senior year in high school. Too good. He started talking to me about stuff. Good stuff. The kind of stuff that makes a parent think, “He’s going to be fine. He’s going to make mistakes, but he’s going to be fine.” Everything was so good that before I knew it, the year flew by, and now, in just three days, we will move him into a dorm to start his first year in college.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll enjoy never running out of cell phone data, ice cream or hot water. It will be nice to walk past his bathroom without gagging because someone forgot to flush. I suppose I won’t miss finding empty food wrappers in couch cushions, under beds or inside an empty box that’s sitting in the pantry. But I’m going to miss him. Just when I think I could throw myself in front of his car as he pulls out of the driveway to pick his brother up from school (sniff, such a good kid), he does something that makes me want to force him to live in his car until it’s time to move.

Is it normal to one minute, feel physically ill about the thought of not seeing your child every single day to the next, wanting to pay for an UBER to take him as far as $50 can take him?  Just last night he ignored me when I told him he was grounded because he hadn’t started packing his clothes yet. Was that too much to ask? I mean, it’s just his clothes. I’ve packed (AND PURCHASED!) everything else. After our little argument, he packed.

Then I felt horrible. He has three more nights until leaving, and I’m grounding him. Who does that? So, I knocked on his door to apologize. When I walked in, every item of clothing in his closet was taken off of hangers and laying in a pile on the floor. In his bag, he had packed 30 pairs of underwear, two Xbox controllers, laptop, cell phone charger, deodorant, three pairs of jeans, a handful of running shorts and sneakers, at least one dozen t-shirts, razor and shaving cream. He looked up from what appeared to be a very intense thread on Reddit, smiled and said, “I told you I packed.” I turned to walk away. “Mom? Where are you going?”

“To order an UBER for you.”

Is this normal? It’s been said that children are a gift from God. Does that mean that part of the gift will result in pushing his mother over the edge into a nervous breakdown? And if so, does God have a return policy?

Thank you for any guidance.

Mother on the edge

Dear Mother on the edge,

The good news is you both will survive, and he may even appreciate all the work it took to get him ready to face the big, bad world.

The bad news is, it won’t likely happen until his own child heads off to college. As far as the feelings that can go from happy to sad to mad in the same breath, this unfortunately is something you will have to get used to. Don’t get too excited about those four glorious weeks he’ll be home for the holidays. By Christmas Eve, you’ll be ready to order another UBER to carry him back to school.


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School Year Pledge

School has started, and, to be honest, I’m a little melancholy.

Most years, I’m glad to return my kids to school. And I don’t mean just glad, I mean ecstatic, overjoyed, beside myself with overwhelming happiness that I’m no longer part-time summer camp director, part-time jail warden, part-time personal chef and full-time zookeeper! When they go back to school, my vacation begins!

But with our oldest child already moved out, our middle child now a senior and only one left that can’t drive, I’m growing sad that these school years will soon be ending. Mind you, I’ve never been PTA President much less Homeroom Mom assistant to the assistant, and so I’m also growing concerned that my kids are going to remember me as the slacker Mom I was rather than the Mom of the Year I meant to be.

So while I still have some time, I need to rewrite history, sprinkle their memories with some fake news and make them completely forget all the times I picked them up late or made them pass off packaged cookies for homemade ones, at every single one of their school parties.

It’s time to reform my image. If Martha Stewart can serve jail time and follow her incarceration with a Prime Time Christmas Special, surely I can become super mom in the next year.

In an effort to replace my senior’s memories (and those of her brother while I’m at it), I pledge to correct my wayward ways as follows:

  1. I will not forget to pick you up from school on the days you don’t have your car. Not even once, because that is wrong and also because it seems to be that one thing you guys bring up over and over and over. I get it, you get out at 3, and I will be there. What, you get out at 2:50? Well, therein lies the first problem.
  2. I will make your school lunch for more than just the first week of school. This will, obviously, also entail my going to the grocery on a regular basis, which is really a huge thorn in my side but I completely understand, after 12 years you can’t eat one more chicken nugget. Have you tried Chick-fil-A nuggets, though, because those are soo good? Ok, no — you are right — make your lunch, done!
  3. I will no longer let my son wear girl shirts to school. Apparently boy polo shirts button up on one side and girl polo shirts button up the other – who knew – well apparently most of the 8th grade boys did last year, so this year, no girl shirts!
  4. I will not forget to wash your tennis, soccer, cross country, football gear every single night — twice — on HOT! Because throwing them in the dryer for 10 minutes with a dryer sheet and then Febreezing them is not the same… even though it kind of is.
  5. I will not wait until the last minute to work on your/my project because all that yelling is bad for everyone. Additionally, I will start working on your bug project at least two weeks earlier so I can order exotic freeze dried bugs and not end up super gluing regular old worms and bees to a piece of cardboard the night before. Because that not only gets you a bad grade but more importantly allows That Mom (you know the one) to make a better grade than me/you!
  6. I will remember to sign your agenda book/permission slip/sports waiver and won’t encourage you to forge my name when you call me from the school office. Because the principal has an odd habit of putting me on speaker and also because your dad’s signature is much easier to replicate.
  7. If there is a short period (promise, it will be short) where I can’t make your lunch and you have to eat cafeteria food, I will remember to put money into your lunch account. Because it’s embarrassing not only for you, but for me to get that call…day after day. And while part of me thinks it’s character building, your dad doesn’t think it’s funny.
  8. I will encourage you to attend all practices even if that means I will spend every single day of this next year waiting in my car or sitting in the bleachers for hours on end. One, because I love you and two, because I have a feeling your dad is keeping a file on me and I probably need to step it up.
  9. I will remember that it’s important that I get your teacher a Christmas gift, a Teacher Appreciation gift, a Valentine’s Day gift and an End of the Year gift because when I/you get that last tardy before Saturday school begins, she just might be “resting her eyes” as you slip into the room at 8:05.
  10. I will do my best to not look absolutely pained as I sit through your Academic Banquet, End of the Year Crossing, School Award Program…because you/I worked hard for that PE award, just as hard as that kid who has won every single other award for the past 12 years. Just as hard!

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The Big Payback

It hit me a few days ago. We will be moving our oldest children into their dorm. Lately, I’d been all melancholy about this new life change. It wasn’t until the buzzer from our fridge woke me up in the middle of the night that I changed my perspective about our kids growing up and moving out.

You see the buzzer from the fridge only goes off when the door has been left open for an extended period. That means one of two things; 1. A thief with an odd MO broke into our home, opened the freezer door then left or 2. In the middle of the night, one of our boys decided they needed a snack and in the excitement of eating the last ice cream sandwich, forgot to make sure the freezer door closed properly.

It was 3 a.m., and by the looks of my now liquefied carton of Chunky Monkey ice cream, the offense most likely happened between 11 p.m. and midnight. Because this is not the first time our boys have shown that they are neglectfully wasteful, their dad and I have decided to make a comprehensive list of the things we plan to do when our boys get a place of their own. A place where they pay the water bill, electric bill, mortgage, etc.

  1. Not take our shoes off when entering your home — especially if it has been raining outside and preferably if we’ve walked through mud to get to your front door.
  2. Eat all the good snacks and leave the empty boxes in the pantry. We will do the same thing with milk.
  3. We will pour a full glass of milk, soda, or juice, drink one sip then leave it sitting somewhere out of sight. Fortunately, by the time you notice the smell, your dad and I will be on our way to your brother’s house to wreak the same havoc.
  4. Take all your forks, even the nice ones, and hide them under beds, below the bathroom sink, in the garage, etc. For good measure, we’ll also throw some in the garbage. Why forks? Because, why not? We’ve replaced three sets of silverware because eventually, all our forks disappear. Unless the person who breaks into our house to leave the fridge door open also takes the forks from our silverware sets, we know it’s you.
  5. We will take showers that take at least 75 minutes or just enough time to use all the hot water.
  6. Bring our friends with us to visit. We will eat and drink everything in your pantry, stuff granola bar wrappers and empty juice boxes under the bed. Before leaving, we’ll allow our guests to use the restroom, then remind them that yours is a “flushing optional” household. Be afraid, kids. Be very afraid.
  7. Hide your remote controls and game controllers.
  8. Use your car and return it with an empty tank of gas and something sticky on the steering wheel.
  9. Leave wet towels on the floor.
  10. Finally, we turn every light in the house on, then leave.

While there’s a few more we plan to add; this list should cover it for now. Until the time comes for us to enjoy our children’s homes much in the same way they have enjoyed ours, we will patiently wait and update our list as needed.

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