Why God gave me these kids

One of the sweetest pictures in my collection.

One of the sweetest pictures in my collection.

“Oh, God, why did you give me these children???”

I have said these words

More than once

There have been times when I have exclaimed this in a most screaming doleful and lamenting tone.

“OH GOD, WHY did you give me THESE children???

Those moments when mothering is troubling and my spirit is weary. When Nate screamed bloody murder in the bathtub for no reason at all or when Aaron threw handfuls of dirt on the carpet after repeatedly telling him to leave the dirt in the planter. When Ike flew into an angry tirade and it felt like body parts were exploding on the walls. And those are just a few of the stories I could share.

I suppose my OS have their own share of meltdown moments from me as well but we’re not going to talk about that. They can get their own blog and share those stories one day!

But in much larger measure, I have inquired of the Lord,family5

oh God, why did you give ME these children?”

And I can’t say I have totally figured this out but I do see a theme and hear an answer when I enter the holy places of the Lord.

“They brought you closer to Me.” This is the refrain which resonates the most true.

With each successive olive shoot, my need for Jesus became clear. Here’s what I mean.



Nate taught me celebration. He was the toe-headed boy who began walking at eight months and wrote the words “hallelujah” in a prayer journal in elementary school. He is my adventurous, always-looking-for-a-challenge child currently plodding away at Ranger School.

Aaron danger boyMy middle Aaron has been used by the Lord to instruct me on the value of submission. As a toddler, it was apparent we were well on our way to raising an absolutely adorable jerk. We had to implement structure and discipline into our home. When he bit into the face of the daycare director’s granddaughter like she was a hamburger at Bull City Burger, we knew something had to give.

wh2202And Ike, oh, my soul, my adorable, orange hair, freckle face OS, he is God’s lesson in absolute dependence on the Lord. The boy who nursed just on one side, pushed his food away as a toddler as if he had been served a bowl of salty mush, Ike has rocked my world in ways I never dreamed. He is ornery and tender-hearted, stubborn as a zit on a middle-age woman and contrite in spirit to the point where it brings me to tears.

Without each of my children, I’m not sure I would know Jesus. Thankfully I’ll never know! God placed each one of my olive shoots in my life to give me life eternally! The Hubs and I couldn’t do this family thing on our own with any measure of success without Him.ikebball2

What about you? Have you ever wondered the same thing about your children? Why did God give you your babies? I’d love to hear!

Love and letters, part one


photo copy 5The response to writing my Soldier has been incredible.

Most of us do not understand how wonderful it is for a military person to hear from loved ones and friends.

The longer I am a mama of a Soldier, the more it sinks in.

For my son, he has loved every single message.

Here’s why. Imagine marching 800m through the swamps, then doing a 9k patrol base at night followed by a 17k back. Your letters matter to these weary men.

Picture getting 30 seconds to inhale an MRE (meals ready to eat) somewhere in the mountains but then getting a funny card from a friend delivered to you sometime during training. It can kind of make you feel like a person for a second. If there’s a stick of gum inside, even better!

So today I want to highlight some of the incredible letters and cards Nate has been receiving, I’m amazed at everyone’s thoughtfulness. We’re not done yet, so please keep writing, I feel blessed because of you.

Dog owners – Can you believe that Nate is getting a letter from a couple who adopted our emotionally disturbed greyhound, Toughie? Years ago, we were the owners of a retired racing greyhound. Poor Toughie was an emotional basket case and we had to find him another home. Before going over the Rainbow Bridge, Toughie found some infinitely patient souls to care for him. Now they are sending Nate a letter! Oh how he will chuckle seeing the name Toughie again!


Oh dear nephew, your cousin will cherish this picture forever! He will love all the detail and action! I love you and so does Nate! RLTW!

Cousins – This picture is from Nate’s seven-year old cousin, Jon. The more I look at this picture, the more I love it. Tanks, swamps, fish, words of encouragement, this drawing also has plenty of action and Nate is smiling through the whole thing. I’m not so sure about that in real life but I do know this. Nate will grin ear to ear because of this letter. According to Jon, Nate is the #1 23-year-old and I have to agree!

Katie and the kids she's working with this summer.

Katie and the kids she’s working with this summer.

Classmates and cool kids – One of Nate’s high school classmates is working with K-5th kids this summer.

photo copy

Daniel, this is a beautifully written letter. You are a really nice guy!


974857_10201224092465611_1526572933_n Stacey, this letter is a work of art. Nate will love it!


Thank you Alajah for thinking of my Soldier.

Since Nate is a strong example of perseverance, obedience, courage and integrity, determination, Katie had an idea.

Last week she talked to her kids about unconditional love. Then the kids sent him some snail mail. Just look at the adorable sentiments expressed by these precious children!


So bright and colorful! Much prettier than looking at the swamps! Thanks y’all!

Thanks to Katie and her efforts, Nate will receive 30 Scripture filled letters from these boys and girls. This will mean the world to him!

Brothers – Equally delightful are the cards my orange hair, freckle face OS sends his brother.

photo copy 4

It takes a unique mind to come up with this character. What a creative little brother!

Spermy the Whale is the featured character Ike created during his middle school years.

Spermy now makes regular appearances on correspondence with Nate.

In particular, Nate has specifically mentioned how much he enjoys getting these bizarre greetings.

Ike really makes some interesting cards...

Ike really makes some interesting cards…I know he enjoys sending them to his bro.

It would seem that Spermy the Whale is transforming from a gangsta with grillz and a gold chain to entering the business world sporting a briefcase and a professional tie. The grillz are now a thing of the past. Um, ok!

My joy multiples as a mom. On behalf of all the families we represent who have a son, fiance, husband, boyfriend or brother in Ranger School, know it is a highlight for us to know others care.

From Korea to California, Texas to Michigan, El Salvador to New York and all points in between, thank you, bless you. We should never undervalue the significance of sending support to our military servicemen and women.

Questions: If you have a special person in the military, how have letters and cards helped your loved one?  What are creative ways you offer support to others! Let’s share ideas!

My mighty cleaners – Ike and Extreme 18X – free bonus goodies (Ike not included)


2013-06-13 15.22.35Dirty windows + able-bodied, orange hair, freckle face ginger sitting around watching tv = opportunity

2013-06-13 15.14.03We have a VIP arriving at our house this weekend and in anticipation of her visit, I wanted the windows in our family room clean. Ike began the chore but grabbed a can of aerosol window cleaner we received years ago when the room was constructed.

When I checked on Ike’s progress, the overwhelming smell of chemicals had filled the room. One look at the contents in the can, I was shocked to see the ingredients used. The first ingredient on the list 2-butoxyethanol (or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether). Also known as 2-BU, this widely-used cleaning solvent causes anemia by damaging red blood cells, creates air pollution that exceeds workplace limits, is linked to impaired fertility and reproductive and developmental toxicity. EPA even considers it a possible human carcinogen. Liquified petroleum gas for window cleaner? Come on! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So I quickly grabbed replaced the can of toxic ingredients with a spray bottle of water mixed with about a half teaspoon of Extreme 18X. This product has replaced at least 80% of my regular cleaning supplies so it just made good, healthy sense.

2013-06-13 15.59.37

Extreme 18X is an ultra-concentrated soap berry liquid detergent and cleaner and now the good folks at NaturOli are giving a FREE BONUS GIFT of a mini or trial size” for every $25 in merchandise ordered!*

We use Extreme 18X and soap nuts interchangeably. I’m also a big fan of their skin care products – toner, skin repair creme, facial creme and the complete daily cleansing kit.


The mini/trial Sizes are anything but small and NaturOli’s skin & hair care formulas are all FULL 1 to 2-oz sizes – FAR from typical tiny sample packets that are only a mere use or two.

– Values of mini and trial sizes are up to $9.90 each! You might like this gluten-free skin repair creme but take a look around and see what other things look good.

When placing your order, choose one for every $25 in merchandise in your cart. *Limit of six (6) per order. Put the product names (or product numbers) in the “Comments” Box during checkout. Please be specific about which items you desire. They’ll be shipped with your order. It’s that easy!

– No coupon required. Your selections will be on your receipt.

Offer expires Friday, 6-21 at midnight.

Ike and Extreme 18X made a good team. The pictures I took were not filtered in any way, there was no need. My windows are sparkly, streak-free clean and that was done thanks to two things – an awesome son and a petro-chemical free, formaldehyde free product that I absolutely love.

Welcome guests with a great salad – get your crunch on!


IMG_20110120_185631“What I love most is an abundance of simple food of perfect quality and staggering freshness, very simply and respectfully treated, tasting strongly of itself.” Sybille Bedford, in The Artist’s & Writer’s Cook Book, 1961*

Isn’t that an awesome quote?

On Fridays a box of locally grown, in-season produce arrives at my doorstep from The Produce Box. Fresh fruits and vegetables bursting with color and flavor are a highlight to my week.

In our family, salad is a verb. With the exception of my ministry-minded middle who is loath to leafy greens, the rest of the gang enjoys a fresh green salad. Click here for Nate’s favorite salad!

My first experience with homemade dressing was while living in Normandy, France. My French family created their own salad dressing using Dijon mustard and vinegar and it was sublime. Prior to that I thought the only way to have a salad dressing was to buy it! Boy, was I wrong!

I guess you could say I had “un grand moment avec une salade” or “a big moment with a salad” in France.

Really, it’s so simple to make your own salad dressing. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth the small effort involved.

IMG_3010_10241. The taste is far superior to that of a bottled salad dressing. It never ceases to amaze me how many salad dressings there are in the grocery aisle but you could do the same thing at home, quite honestly!

2. Instead of some gi-normous food manufacturer determining your ingredients, you can please your own palate and your family’s.

3. You can substitute, reduce or omit ingredients based on what’s available in your cupboards.

4. Time saving The few upfront minutes I (or one of my olive shoots) invest in making extra dressing beforehand, allows us to conveniently have a fresh salad in minutes. When I make extra, I  just use a clean glass jar to store it in the fridge. When making the dressing for others, I repurpose a jar that used to contain jelly or jam.

I prefer to buy only triple-washed spring mix or romaine lettuce. That’s because despite my valiant efforts to adequately wash the leaves, I’m often left with a gritty bunch of dirt in the greens and ain’t nobody got time for that.

The recipe I’m including below is a favorite.

Add blackberries plus yellow and red peppers to give the salad a summer flair. For a different salad, throw some pears and walnuts for a delightful and slightly fancy twist. Often in the Christmas season, I toss handfuls of pomegranate seeds to make it festive and add a fun crunch. My buddy and writer pal Meredith stopped by one night and got to try pomegranate seeds which totally rocked her world! #truestory

If I have some homemade kale, spinach or beet powder handy, I’ll sprinkle a little on the salad for additional flavor, color and nutrition. Yes, I take salads seriously.

Here’s the recipe, hope you enjoy!

4 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey**

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix it all together and shablam, you’re ready to dress up your salad.

Questions – When you say salad, what is your family’s reaction? Does your family even eat salad? How do you make it appealing?

"My mom makes me eat salad and that's why I have big muscles. She's the best."

“My mom makes me eat salad and that’s why I have big muscles. She’s the best.” Aaron’s buddy Caleb looks by in awe.

*Quote from Simple Food for the Good Life by Helen Nearing

** Raw, unfiltered honey is the best. If you can, get your honey from a local beekeeper. Clover and wildflower honey have the mildest flavor.

Entertaining thoughts about entertaining – getting kids ready for guests

Lemonhead party!

Lemonhead party!

If we know you are coming over to our house, there are things we do before you arrive. As the mama of three sons, one of whom is currently in Ranger School, I have learned that in military terms, presumably we could call it a “movement.”

We straighten up – usually a vacuum is pushed throughout the area you will visit. There is often dusting beforehand and the bathroom is cleaned. The bathroom deserves its own post though, more on that later.

There they are wearing those collared shirts. We had a guest from El Salvador visiting us among other special people.

There they are wearing those collared shirts. We had a guest from El Salvador visiting us among other special people.

They put on a nice shirt– although my boys moaned and groaned about this, we found that the mere act of putting on a collared shirt indicated they were part of the team. In our family we call it W-H style since those are the initials to our last name. Changing out of regular clothes means something special is going to happen. The collared shirt (usually a polo shirt, rarely long-sleeved)  signifies that our family, every single one of us, not just Dad and Mom, is having company. Even if only one person is invited, the level of alert is heightened.

We rehearse – Just as we had practice training sessions about manners, throughout the years, our family still goes over a list of duties before people show up.

“Ike, you’re in charge of water and drinks. Make sure no one’s glass remains empty.”

“Aaron, don’t talk too much, let others also speak and try to sit still.”

“Nate, when we’re done with dinner, gather up the plates.”

All the guys had a purpose.

So maybe you’re wondering –

Did it always work perfectly? Of course not! We never expected things to be flawless but there was a standard.

Always the life of the party, that's my Aaron!

This guy needs more than a collared shirt! My Aaron!

Did your kids feel like robots devoid of any personality? You haven’t been to our house if you’re asking that question! No, they actually had more freedom because of the rules. We made it fun and not overly formal.

Collared shirts every single time? Not every single time but often. Freshly showered, collared young men are so adorable. Sometimes they would dab a bit of cologne on before bounding down the stairs. The hint of manly fragrance on their middle school necks always made my heart grin and grow wistful. I wish those days back again quite honestly. When the doorbell rang, we were ready for our guests’ arrival. We appreciated them coming into our home.

And I must share this.

Our guests appreciate these touches although most might not even realize what happened behind the scenes. They are just blessed and isn’t that the whole point to entertaining, blessing someone? The minimal preparation we employed allows our guests to be at ease. In some way it announces this family is ready and we have things (slightly) under control.

Last summer, my oldest OS rented a house near Fort Benning and he and his buddies hosted a gathering. Nate called me for advice on menu selection and such. He even wanted to make sure he served a salad (this melted my heart). My boy wanted people to feel welcome in his home. I’m sure my Soldier was a gracious host and maybe he even wore a collared shirt!

And we recently had a 51st birthday party for the Hubs. It was a Lemonhead theme because it’s his favorite candy. The orange hair, freckle face OS  was an integral part of the planning and a huge help before, during and after the event.

But true to form before the guests arrived, Ike asked the standard question. “Do I have to wear a collared shirt?” As this picture indicates, Ike got his answer.

Those are two very lemony collared shirts, don't you think?

Those are two very lemony collared shirts, don’t you think?

Out of all my boys, Ike is very gifted with hos- pitality. His servant’s heart has parlayed into him having a little part-time job at a nearby event venue. He’s the guy walking around with hors d’oeuvres and refilling non-alcoholic drinks. So I guess being a good host, getting kids ready for company has paid off both here and away from home. The more we do it, the better we become as both guests and faithful stewards of our home.

So what are the little things you do before you have dinner guests? Do you even dare try? It is scary! How have you prepared your kids to co-host special times at your house?

Prepare your young ones for dinner guests, it’s worth it!

This dining room has housed many memories indeed!

This dining room has housed many memories.

When our olive shoots were small, we had little training sessions about manners.

We stressed several important things with our guys to prepare them for “company.” Now that they are 23, 18 and 16 respectively, I see the fruit of our labors. They really know how to be gracious hosts.

Here are the things we worked on:

1. Firm handshakes

2. Eye contact

3. Addressing adults by their last names.

Yes, this kid does have manners...

Yes, this kid does have manners…

To make the teaching time fun, (and I realize that the word “fun” might be a stretch), either one of my olive shoots or I would go into the hall closet. It was filled with coats and whatnot and after a second, I’d knock on the door or pretend to ring the doorbell. When the guys would “answer” the door, I would extend my hand and give them a hearty “Hello!”

From there, we practiced those aforementioned skills – often I’d invent a wildly funny last name with ample alliteration. One of my favorite last names was Mrs. Schpuhboodydootin. Oh the giggles we shared while learning the importance of addressing adults with respect. Occasionally I’d even hyphenate her name to keep things interesting.

This boy needed some teaching but that's ok!

This boy needed some teaching but that’s ok!

Let me tell you something. There isn’t anything cuter than being greeted by a little ginger boy with a strong handshake. Follow that up with a big brother who addresses you with  confidence and a middle guy asking to take your coat and welcome you into the home and shablam, there was a sweet mood in the air before the dinner even got started.

All this cost me was time and these guys were worth the investment.

I can’t tell you how many people have told me how conversational my boys were even during the awkward growing years. Those light-hearted training sessions were useful!

Controversial as it may seem, I do find the whole last-name thing ironic. We applaud our little children as they develop an ample vocabulary but we dumb them down when it comes to using an adult’s last name. People even put their kids in language classes to help them become bi-lingual but wow, ask them to use an adult’s last name and the parents instantly think it’s impossible!

That same dining room many years ago. Ike still sits in the same chair.

That same dining room many years ago. Ike still sits in the same chair.

Yes there are cultural preferences but people have told me that calling me Mrs. Cindy is a Northern thing, then others inform me that calling me Mrs. Cindy is a Southern phenomenon. I really don’t care, the standard in our home was to use an adult’s last name out of respect. We wanted to keep the bar high because it shows the preciousness of others.

As we taught our guys the fine art of cordiality, I always wanted to lift the standard. I can’t tell you how many people would say my last name was too difficult for their kids to pronounce. Really? My boys found a sense of comfort in acknowledging that they were in the midst of their elders.

This guy is now an officer in the Army!

This guy is now an officer in the Army!

Of course we had no idea one day our oldest OS would be a West Point graduate and an officer in the Army.

I know Nate appreciates the significance of rank and decorum. Maybe he learned some of that in our home training ground. Now it makes me smile when I hear people refer to him with respect and honor. A part of my heart leaps when people salute him, how can that be? He’s just a sugar boy after all.

Sugar boy/Soldier

Sugar boy/Soldier

I’d love to hear what you think about my suggestions. I realize I might have opened up a can of controversy with the whole last name thing but I want to put it out there. What are you doing to train your kids to be ready for guests?

Five minute Friday – imagine


IMG_8765Do you ever wonder

or imagine

what life would have been like?

If you had married another person?

IMG_3623Had children of a different gender?

Lived elsewhere?

Grown up in ways that you never knew?

Have you ever mused –

What if you had played a sport?

Continued to play an instrument?

Really pursued that gift or calling?

I do not regret my life in the slightest but sometimes I imagine. Having a daughter. Being Italian. Playing the flute. Writing a book. Living in Europe. Being rich. Stuff like that.

While taking a walk with the Hubs the other day, I started imagining life differently. He’s a good Hubs and listens because he knows I don’t want to be with anyone else but him living this life.

And you know what?

I always come up with

I like my life with my Hubs and three olive shoots.

There are many aspects of the past I would prefer to bypass

But I see God’s hand

How He ordered my days – three sons, North Carolina, Jesus follower who loves kale

And I can’t imagine being anyone else.

5minutefridayWhat do you imagine?

(Check out this fun writing prompt each Friday! It’s a highlight of my week and I love reading the other posts people write about the same word!)

What that (formerly) awkward Asian guy said at high school graduation, part one

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Due to illness, I didn’t attend the high school graduation at my children’s school this year.

However, when the Hubs and Ike came home from the ceremony, they both told me about the commencement messages.

One particular speech stood out and as soon as I got the gist of the message, that night, despite strep throat, I contacted the young man who had so boldly and honestly addressed his classmates.

“Would you allow me the honor of sharing your message on my blog?” I asked. What had I to lose?

attachmentTo my delight, Ben said yes!

His message speaks to anyone who understands the impact of encouragement. If you have ever been the awkward one, the misfit, the uncool person in a group, you just have to read this. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum, imagine how your words and actions can minister to another?

Had I been in the audience that day, I would have burst into tears because the message resonates deep within me. I think it will speak to your heart as well.

Here is part one of Benjamin Hoover’s valedictorian speech. I’m privileged to feature it on my blog. Thank you Ben, bless you.

I never, not for one second, thought I could be standing here as valedictorian of the incredibly talented, incredibly awesome, CCS class of 2013.

Middle school Ben, hands in pocket, rockin' those plaid pants on Tacky Day.

Middle school Ben, hands in pocket, rockin’ those plaid pants on Tacky Day.

In order to understand this, you have to understand who I was in sixth grade.

In sixth grade, seniors, do you remember the Asian sitting in the corner, with his pants hiked up to my belly button, buttons buttoned all the way to the top, glasses, baby face, the buzz cut, with maybe a little too much fat around the belly?

I was the kid who wouldn’t talk to you unless;

one, you needed help with a math problem;

or two, you shared my passion for Pokémon.

Playing the piano with Mom

Playing the piano with Mom

Of course, time goes on, and soon I joined the football team, thanks primarily to the persuasion of one guy.

I grew my hair out for the first time in nine years.

I lost the glasses in lieu of contacts.

I slimmed down and lost the bit of belly fat around the midriff. I started sagging.*

But I was still super shy, not confident at all in who I was, and absolutely mortified of speaking in public.

I was going through a time that most associate with teenage drama, and I associate with insecurity.

And then here I am today, standing in my graduation cap and gown, this shiny gold medal, and this really annoying tassel. I want to say, that without all of your encouragement, I could not be standing here today.

All of you have made me who I am.

All of you have shaped me and helped me grow.

Seniors, I don’t think any of you realize how much of an influence you have had on my life, and I thank you.

Teachers, I cannot thank you enough for your undying dedication to the growth and enrichment of us students and for setting yourselves as godly role models for us to follow, you have made me who I am.

I thank you.

Xperia X2 ImagesAnd of course I can’t go without thanking my family, my parents and my sisters, who have had the most influence over me for the past 17 almost 18 years, I thank you so very much for making me who I am today. I thank you all, so very much, for your encouragement. None of it has gone unnoticed.

You know, it never had to a large or flamboyant gesture. It could be as simple as giving me a pat on the back and saying, “Good luck,” as I came up here to give my speech.

It could be as simple as giving me a smile in the hallways when you could just as easily have walked on with your busy life.

It could be as simple as shaking me by the hand, making eye contact with me, and saying, “Well done.”

Or maybe, it could be as simple as bringing me a dustpan when you saw me sweeping the classroom after lunch all by myself.

I am who I am today because of you and your encouragement.

(I’m going to pause Ben’s message here and take it back up in the next post.)

So what do you think about his speech thus far? Can you remember those woeful adolescent transitions?

*sagging, in the context of Ben’s speech, means he wore his pants a little lower than previously 😉

Five unusual things that make a mom feel special



1. They put the seat down – Our home isn’t a gas station or a truck stop, therefore the simple action of placing the toilet seat down after using the bathroom demonstrates love. You might not appreciate this action until you have assumed the seat was down and tragically realized it wasn’t. Splash. Early in their childhood, we made this a family rule. In addition we also flush, and close the door when using the bathroom.

2. They clean the rim – In a moment of frustration, I once wrote a frustrated message on the toilet seat in black Sharpie pen. Nothing else seemed to be working so I expressed my annoyance. This was after repeated requests for the offending party to please be more careful, I had had enough. My OS weren’t children or new to potty training, they possessed enough awareness of their bodily functions to avoid leaving yellow driblets on the seat. They were chagrined and now are usually more mindful. One day their wives can thank me for this.

3. They replace the toilet paper – Another act of consideration occurs when there is a fresh roll of toilet paper on the roll. I remember once using the restroom and discovering there was only  ONE THIN SQUARE of toilet paper still on the roll. When I yelled inquired why the person didn’t bother to replace the roll, I was told there was still enough toilet paper for the next person. It was a teachable moment.

photo copy 24. They surprise me with flowers – I don’t have to be sick or have a birthday for my boys to give me flowers. Several years ago during the summer, Aaron came home from work with a bouquet of flowers for me. He wasn’t in trouble either, it was a just-because moment. Flowers also help offset the occasional forgetful episodes outlined in 1-3.

photo copy 4

Flower inside and outside create a happy mood. Thanks, Hubs!

5. They appreciate. I feel content when my fellas notice the little touches around the house. On Saturday, I cut a few sprigs of mint from our garden and placed them on the dining room table. They liked it. When I write Scripture on the kitchen chalkboard, it catches their attention or when I set the table nicely, it brings harmony. Those homey, domestic efforts aren’t necessarily observed individually but they give a welcome mood which my guys enjoy.

I wonder if men understand how these small efforts at mindfulness really make a difference to a woman.

It might not seem like a big deal to the Hubs or my three olive shoots but these things make me feel blessed. I like being a girl in a house full of guys.

These five actions recognize and elevate my unique status as the only female in my house. Philippians 2:3-4 is played out and make me feel special. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

What do you think about this list?

Truth is, as a mom I’m not a straight A student…a parent report card from my kid

This picture might indicate a lack of parental perfection.

Two people trying to do this thing right .

When it comes to parenting, I’m not perfect.

I’ll wait for a moment while you take that in. I know it’s difficult to imagine.

As long as you don’t ask my kids, the previous statement should have shocked you.

But look at this.

It’s a parenting report card filled out by my orange hair, freckle face olive shoot back in 2007.

Here is my parent report card from my youngest olive shoot.

Here is my parent report card from my youngest olive shoot.

I so wish I could remember the name of the book where I discovered this idea. For my family, it’s been a gem assignment.

With no advance notice, we would print copies of the blank report card for our olive shoots to complete. Prior to our report card day, I didn’t load the guys up with yummy desserts and new electronics, the objective was to be honest. Usually I’d just tell the Hubs it was report card time for us.

P1010749Aren’t you curious to know what your kids would say about you?

After returning the completed the report cards to us, the Hubs and I would chuckle and compare notes. “Oh, yes you DO do that!” we’d scold each other and do our best to impose guilt and shame upon one another. That is a sign of a strong marriage, btw.

Then sheepishly we’d gather together to discuss the results.

To give you an idea as to how our olive shoots approached this task, they often wanted to apologize for not being able to give us a higher grade. It’s like we all entered a safe and sacred place. Never did I find our kids were wise in their own eyes in this instance. The Hubs and I were assessed on our parenting prowess. We took the feedback and tried to do better.

And there were recurrent themes, for instance, apparently I yell. For the record, the Hubs is inconsistent.

But, hey I am good at keeping things fun and got an A+ for building family traditions.

Ike didn't miss the chance to speak the truth in love and safety.

Ike didn’t miss the chance to speak the truth in love and safety.

On one level, it’s wildly amusing.

On another, it’s immensely humbling.

"Oh yes, I'd very much enjoy providing you with a loving and respectful assessment of your ability to parent me. Thank you for asking."

“Oh yes, I’d very much enjoy providing you with a loving and respectful assessment of your ability to parent me. Thank you for asking.”

I’m not a great math whiz. History was never my strong suit. I failed Political Science in college which messed my GPA up for the remainder of my college career. I shouldn’t be surprised I’m just a B average mom with spontaneous moments of greatness. That might be as good as it gets though I’ll keep trying.  It would be nice to make the A-B Parenting Honor Roll one of these days. Not gonna give up!

Question: What do you think about this idea? What do you think your kids would say? Is there anything you’d add to this list? I look forward to hearing from you!