I was heading out to meet a friend for coffee last Wednesday and spied on the counter my daughter’s lunch bag. Since she’d left 20 minutes ago, I gave it some careful thought. I could easily walk the 2 blocks to school and drop it off for her…it would get me some fresh air and after all, she had a test that day – not ideal on an empty stomach…and mid-thought I realized I was doing a bang up job of justifying what I knew I shouldn’t do. Prevent her from learning a lesson in responsibility, in a way that would stick.
Undecided on whether to listen to my brain or my heart, I headed out, knowing I’d still have plenty of time upon my return to drop off lunch before noon. As I sat down for coffee, my friend talked about how glad she was to have her daughter home from college, but worried about the internship she’d started a week earlier which was turning out quite badly.
A few weeks ago we had the softball season-ending barbecue for one of my daughter’s teams. She and her sister had entered the next division this year – where the players had considerably more skill than they did last year. Case in point, one of the opposing team’s star pitchers was clocked at 44 MPH. She’s 10.
It started out as a tough season for my daughter – a couple of strikeouts in multiple at bats resulted in fits of tears, the silent treatment and slammed doors when we got home. Her frustrating experience isn’t all that uncommon. But the approach her coaches took was. They cheered her on after every attempt and spent as much time as she wanted in the batting cage. Despite no particular natural talent, she was willing to work hard and they gave her as much time and attention as their very best player. At some point, something clicked. Half way through the season, she got her first hit. And then another. And then a few foul balls off the toughest pitcher in the league.
Last week I hosted a book club at our house – a group I look forward to seeing month after month at least in part because there’s no judgment when I’ve not yet started, or only half completed the book by the time we get together. I asked my husband to grill our dinner – and my daughters appeared to want a role too. So they proposed one: they would be in charge of name tags.
This is NOT a group that needs name tags. In total we’re roughly 25, and while who attends each month varies somewhat, not only do we know each others’ names, work situations and addresses, many of us know which colleges each others’ kids are applying to, their sports and extracurriculars and so on.