Cecilia very much reminds me of me when I was her age and thrust into just about any social situation. Unless it involved sports or someone handing me a book, I was filled with equal parts terror, embarrassment, and anxiety. Michelle cannot wrap her head around this plight.
I only have two bits of advice that might help. First, any fears about what other people think are overblown and rarely worth getting worked up about. Social media doesn’t help, but it’s not just technology, it’s human nature. We selfishly love ourselves the most but often care more about what other people think. Even complete strangers. If there was one thing I could hammer into a teenager’s head it’s that other people think about you far less than you imagine. The next time you are feeling self-conscious, stop and look around, pretty much everyone else is likely doing the same thing.
Second, as we head into gratitude season, when in doubt, just say thank you. There is no downside. Showing too much gratitude to the people in your life is rarely a problem. Even a teenager can’t roll thei— wait, yes they can.
I’m not usually a proponent of using box mixes. It’s often just as easy to mix up the ingredients yourself and skip the shelf stabilizers and other weird chemicals. But sometimes, life intervenes. You need a hack. You need chocolate funfetti cupcakes fast.
I freaked out on the kids about Oreos this week. I may have raised my voice about the freeze-dried strawberries in the Special K box. And there was a close call involving glitter in the toilet. I’m willing to bet some of you had similar experiences. Week three chewed me up. I was beginning to amaze even myself at the things I could get annoyed about. So, I hid in the basement for awhile, doubled down on baking bread and started thinking about Abraham Lincoln.
“This too shall pass” was Lincoln’s favorite saying. Will this pandemic end? Yes. Will the world go back to normal? No. I think it took three weeks for that to really sink in for me. Our lives will not pick back up one day as if this never happened. We are walking a bridge to a changed world. I think that might be why I had a meltdown about the world’s best-selling sandwich cookie.
Lincoln’s real gift was his ability to focus on the terribly onerous tasks he faced with both humor and deadly seriousness. Do what you can, endure what you must. Each day is a new battle to say yes to what matters and say no to what doesn’t. We’re being reminded every day that when the world goes crazy, what’s left is family. Try not to yell at them about their dessert choices. Continue Reading
So it’s parent-teacher conference time. Both kids are doing fine but it’s a good reminder for me to never minimize their accomplishments. It’s something that I find challenging at times. It can be easier for me to point out what else they could have done than to praise what they have done.
By this point, it’s very obvious that while Cecilia and I share many traits, how we learn is vastly different. How someone with my genes can hate flash cards? I still have flash cards I made in college! (At some point, on some Saturday, Michelle will discover them in the basement and take them to the transfer station.) It’s not my job to change her or make her see it my way (unless it’s about Boston sports). It’s my job to be on team Ce, to root for her and encourage her. To make sure she understands that I’m proud of her regardless not because she is perfect or smart. That I’m most proud of her high marks in effort and how she has the confidence to keep trying new things. Continue Reading
The beginning of April means Michelle’s birthday which also means starting to plan for her requested strawberry dessert. This year, for the second time in a row, we are opting for the cupcakes over the layer cake. Last year’s cupcakes were quite good. After baking as many cupcakes as I have over the past few years, if one still makes me sit up and take notice, it’s probably worth a repeat. So, after conferring with the guest of honor, we decided to do the vanilla cupcakes with strawberry filling and strawberry studded buttercream. The only catch was that I’d misplaced the recipes that had proven such a success last year. Continue Reading