Posts Tagged: kid wisdom

Jun 15

School’s Out!

school's outSchool’s out for summer!  The bell rang at 10:48 this morning.

Will and I discussed the last of his papers, and that marked the end for him.  Jen finished last Wednesday after getting an A on her math final.

And so we are done for another year.


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May 15

How to Say “No”

If every shell represented a no ...“So why don’t you just say “no”?”

I put my cell back in my pocket and exhaled loudly as we continued our walk.  “I dunno, Jen.  My knee-jerk reaction is to always try to accommodate – if I can.”

“When they asked you, did you know right away what your answer was?  Did you know right away that you wanted to say no?”

“Well, sure I knew I didn’t want to say yes – my stomach clenched.  Yikes.  That’s a pretty good indication that I want to say no.  I don’t need more on my plate.”

She moved me closer to the sidewalk as a car approached – ever the protector, that one.  “How come you don’t just say no right away?” Continue reading →

Jan 15

On Eye Contact with a Narcissist

eye contact“I was watching your eye contact as you visited.  That was weird.  Your eyes were tearing up when he was talking to you, but it was a friendly conversation.  What was that about?”

Jen wiped her eyes.  “I can’t look at him without my eyes watering.  It’s uncomfortable – not like I’m gonna cry, but more like my eyes hurt.  So I pretend like I’ve got an eyelash in my eye and I keep rubbing them.  It’s just really uncomfortable to keep my eyes on him for very long when he’s talking – or any time.”

I turned to Will, “What do you think?”

Will shook his head, “I feel the same way.  It’s hard to look at him for long.  Oh, and I feel myself getting anxious when I try to tell him something.  Like I’m afraid he’ll criticize what I say, so I say it fast so I can get it over with, and then I sound like I’m slurring my words.”

I said, “Yeah, and then you open yourself up for more criticism.” Continue reading →

Dec 14

When the Apple Falls Far From the Tree

When the apple falls far from the tree“So mom…  you know that movie we watched the other night – the one where the gal worked for that mean lady, and she was miserable, but she stayed working for her for three years?”

“I know which movie you mean.”

She mopped the last bite of pancake through the maple syrup.  “Well, you can’t really complain if you’ve only invested a year.  And if you’ve toughed it out for like three years, that seems the time to make a choice.”

“Yeah?  Not sure where you’re going with this, but I’m listening.”

“But if you stick it out for 16 years, complaining all the way and continuing to be miserable, isn’t it your own fault for staying.  At that point, do you have any right to complain about that jerky woman you’re working for?”

“I see what you mean.  And as long as you remember that that also applies to relationships, you’ll have it all figured out.”  I laughed, “It sounds like my work is done here.”

“I knew you were gonna say that!”


Thank you for reading here.  I wish you quiet sparkles, warm hugs from those you love the most, peace by a fire with a good book in your lap, and an optimistic feeling about the new year. 

Be well, friends, and Merry Christmas!

Oct 14

On Being the Teenage Son of a Narcissistic Father

Boo!His eyes roll as his hand makes the universal symbol for “one who talks too much.”  He paces the floor and occasionally says, “Uh huh.”

My teenage son is on the phone with his narcissistic father.

He will listen anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes.  He’ll hear about his dad’s work issues, car issues, and plans for skiing and fishing trips.  He’ll learn of his dad’s ailments, frustrations, and current obsessions.  He’ll discover what his dad watches on TV, what his dad is reading, and whether he has mastered his new cell phone.

The son will be asked if his ski gear still fits.  He’ll be told that his father has been shopping for him.  The son will cringe and give me a look that says, “Here we go again.”

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Aug 14

On Soft Landings and a Rare Night Out

a rare night out“So what if I kept the conversation going on your projects? I’ll ask the questions and then maybe dad will join in. What do you think?”

We were taking a long walk through the neighborhood, trying to come up with a plan to suit both kids for the next day’s dad visit.  As we walked, we watched charcoal storm clouds build south of town.

That should have been my first clue.

Jen said, “I know how that will go.  I’ll answer you and start talking about a project, and he’ll quit listening, like he always does.”

Jen walked to the edge of the street when she saw a car coming.  Will had to be made aware of the car.  (That pretty much sums up my experiences parenting a boy and a girl.) Continue reading →

Aug 14

Take a Left at the Coke Can

Take a Left at the Coke CanI’m in need of a bright spot.   I’m struggling with getting back in the groove after spending a couple relaxing days in the woods.

The forwarded email about what animals look like when they see you naked had the three of us giggling.  The dish of strawberries and whipped cream perked up Will.  Jenny’s busy making a Sherlock Holmes doll, so she’s in a craft-induced focus.

The forecasted 98 degree temps are wilting the energy.

I could surf and find bright spots or I could create my own.

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Aug 14

Will They Think I’m Weird?

Wearing flips in Montana“Will they think I’m weird if I’m repelling off the play structure?”


“The neighbors.”

“They already think we’re weird.”

The three of us were walking across the park to the play structure.  Jenny was carrying a climbing rope and harness.  She’d come up with a new game – strategically place 10 bind weed blossoms and try to retrieve them without letting her feet touch the ground.  In some cases, she needed to repel down and pick up the blossoms because she couldn’t access them from the structure any other way.

Will came along to watch.  “Why do you care what the neighbors think?”

Jenny climbed the stairs of the play structure.  “I don’t.  Really.  Well…  I dunno.  Is this weird?”

It was my job to gather the pink blossoms and place them around the structure.  We had the whole park to ourselves.  The sun was high and hot.  I was wondering how long this was going to take.  “If it’s fun, does it matter if it’s weird?  Well, not too weird, I mean.”  I found two more blossoms, “I hate wearing flips* to the park.  Too many pokeys.”

Will laughed as he tried to fit his long legs and arms into the only bit of shade.  “People aren’t really paying attention to what you are doing anyway.  They’re mostly thinking about how they look and what they are doing.”

I looked up from hiding the last blossom.  “That’s right.  Where’d you hear that?”

“You told me that.”

I squeezed into the shade next to Will, “And you listened?”



*A million years ago, I lived in Redondo Beach for a couple months.  I was asked to show my ID at a shop.  When the cashier saw I was from Montana, he looked down at my feet and said, “Wow! They wear thongs (I told you it was a long time ago) in Montana?”

Jul 14

On Trusting Your Teenager


We used to read each other’s mind.  I’d leave him in the living room with a stack of blocks and head to the kitchen to get him a snack.  He didn’t know that I was on my way to open the fridge, but he’d yell, “Bwuebewwies, pwease!”

And that’s how it was for years.

It did happen the other day in the car.  We heard a song on the radio and we simultaneously referenced a video we’d seen about an amazing guy who turned a carrot into a flute or saxophone – some orange wind instrument.  Anyway, on occasion, Will and I are actually on the same page.

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Apr 14

“Why Are They So Angry?” – Part 2

Margaret stood with a nearly empty pie pan in one hand, and a pie server in the other.  “Hm…  why are men so angry?  Basil, you better help Jon with that one.  I’m not sure I know the answer.”

Gladys fingered the beads of her necklace.  “I’ll take a stab at that one, if you don’t mind, Basil.  I’m guessing men are angry because the women of today don’t need them like the women in my generation needed men.  Men don’t feel essential.  They want to be needed, and today’s women are bending over backwards to prove that they don’t need men.”

“Oh my!  You might be right, Gladys.  Pie dear?”

“No thanks, Margaret.  What do you think, Basil?  Do you think I’m close on that one?”

Basil reached for his thermos.  “I’m gonna need more coffee for this one.”  He poured some in his cup and passed the thermos to Margaret.  “I don’t know much about men wanting to feel essential, as you put it.  I don’t know if that crosses a man’s mind.  I never woke up in the morning and set about wonderin’ if I was essential.  But, I did feel better when I had a purpose.  I liked having to take care of my family and keep the roof over our heads.  So maybe you are right.  I felt needed and that meant that I mattered, and that felt good.  Not that I would admit to that, since in my day, men never talked about their feelings.” Continue reading →

Mar 14

Conversations with Kids in Cars

“Even if it was legal, even if they had the money to do it, kids could never run a business because adults just don’t respect them.  Kinda like boys don’t respect girls.  Same thing.”

I reach over to turn down the radio.  “Jen, why do you say that?”  I look at Will, “You gotta slow down a bit, it’s 25 in this neighborhood.”

“Well, I guess grownups don’t respect kids cuz they think kids can’t handle responsibilities.  They say stuff like, ‘You can’t do that, you’re still a kid.'”

“How is that like boys not respecting girls?”  I turn back to watch the traffic, “Nice job on that lane-change there, Will.  Good job remembering to signal.”

“Like if some boys are playing a hunting game on TV and a girl walks up and says, ‘Can I play?’ and the boys say, ‘No, it’s for boys.’  It’s the same thing.”

We are waiting for the light to change and Will chimes in, “Maybe adults think kids can’t handle responsibilities because they are really worried that they aren’t handling responsibilities well.  Maybe the boys worry that the girls’ll be better at the hunting game?”


How do you two come up with this stuff?

Jen looked out the window and laughed, “It’s all pretty obvious, mom.”