“What About Jen?”

Jen's projects“Will, you’re blinking a lot.  What’s up?”


“Is it about the trip?”

“No.  Yeah.  I dunno… I guess.”

I put down my mug and said, “Tell me.”

“Well, it’s cool that I’m going.  I get to ski in Colorado.  It’s awesome.  I got new skis and boots.  Dad bought me a new jacket when my old jacket was just fine.  I told him I don’t need the jacket.  He wants me to wear it around and see how it feels.  It’s a nice jacket.  It’s Mountain Hardwear.  Of course it’s an awesome jacket.  I don’t need a jacket.  If I keep this jacket, is it fair for Jen?  What about Jen?”

“Whew.  I see why you are blinking.”

“Yeah, and now he’s worried that he won’t be able to find me on the ski hill.  Do I need to worry about getting lost?  Am I gonna be okay on this trip?”

I head for the kitchen.  “I’m gonna need some more coffee for this chat.  Do you want some?”

“Yeah.  Coffee would be good.  Am I old enough for this trip?  I’ll be fine, right?”


“First things first.  I wouldn’t let you go if I was even slightly worried.  I am not worried.  You can hold your own on any mountain.  You had to get to that point before we could even consider this kind of trip.  Regardless of whatever comes out of your dad’s mouth, I am confident that even if you get separated on a run, you’ll be absolutely fine.  So let’s cross that off of the list of things to worry about.”

“K.  Thanks.”

I hand him a mug of decaf with too much cream.  “Okay let’s talk about this thing with Jen.  A few years back – back before we knew what to expect from all this narcissism crap – it would have been really tough for Jen to see you being treated as dad’s favorite.  Honestly, I’m sure it still bugs her.”



Jen looks over from her sewing project.  “Yeah.  It’s always going to bug me, but the way I look at it now, I’m just glad I don’t have to go away with dad for a whole week.”

“Yeah, Jen.  Thanks for that.  It’s the price I’m willing to pay to get a chance to ski in Colorado.  But what do I do about the new jacket, the new ski pants, the new layering stuff.  All this new stuff.  What do I do to make it fair for Jen?”

“Whoooooaaa there a minute.  Why do you think it’s up to you to make it fair for Jen?  It’s not your job to clean up after your dad’s mess.   Take this trip and appreciate the opportunity.  Jen and I have some fun plans for when you are gone.  She’ll be just fine.”

Jen stops sewing for a minute and says, “Yeah, we’ve got some projects lined out and we might never even leave the house.  That’d drive you crazy.”

Will laughs and shudders at the thought of being housebound for a week.


“Will, it is your job to enjoy this opportunity but, you also need to be considerate of Jen’s feelings.  You are doing that.  You are aware of the hurts and you are acknowledging them.  That’s enough.  But also, I need to remind you that we are Shopko clearance rack people.  We do what we can with our budget.”

Jen laughs and says, “Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with Goodwill for ski jackets.”

Will puts down his mug and says, “I know that you guys.  But, are you gonna be mad if I wear that jacket that dad wants me to wear?”

“As far as I’m concerned, we’ve already spent way too much time talking about Patagonia, North Face and all that Big Name ski stuff.  It doesn’t make you a better skier.  I don’t care what jacket you wear as long as you are warm and having fun.  Let’s quit worrying about the jacket issue.  That’s your dad’s deal.  He needs you to look good.  Remember, he thinks that’ll make him look good.  Please!  Just don’t become one of those kids who demands that expensive stuff.  Don’t get used to those big names.”

“Mom, you know me better than that.  That’s not me and it never will be.”

“I know.  I know.   Just making sure.”


“Yeah.  Remember when dad told me my ski coat clashed with my ski pants?  I didn’t even know what that meant.”  Jen shakes her head.  “Now I like to wear that coat and pants just to bug dad.”




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  1. Jesse,

    Your kids are wise and on good footing thanks to the foundation you have given and are giving them. What a healthy discussion!

    I hope the trip went well for Will and Jen and you sewed your hearts out. : )

    Warm wishes . . .

  2. You are all amazing!!!

  3. Lynn,

    Will came back in one piece with a big smile on his face, but he admitted to loving our own home ski hill more.

    As far as sewing…. so many projects/so little time. ;)

  4. Z,

    It does a body (soul) good to hear that once in awhile.

    Thank you.

  5. I wish you had been my mom …

  6. Pat,

    I’d have been very proud to be your mom.

  7. I am once again in awe in regards to how amazing your kids are. They are a wise and grounded pair, particularly because of you. I couldn’t imagine what it might look like if you were not their mom. The presence and observation you provide is commendable. You are really a great mom my dear.

  8. Kira,

    In my book, there is no higher compliment.

    That being said, my two make it an absolute joy (fun, funny, thought-provoking, and exhausting) to be a mom.

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