Do your best, hope for the best

The title of this piece may be the most powerful and succinct parenting advice that I have ever heard and it came from my own mother.  And it wasn’t directed at me (for a change).  I don’t have to ask her for advice; she gives it freely and without solicitation!  It is usually correct, but some days I don’t want to hear it frankly.   However, a friend of mine who is also a parent asked my mother the other day, “What is your parenting advice?”  Without skipping a beat, she said rather matter-of-factly, “Just do your best and hope for the best.  That is all you can do.”

Now, my mother is 76 years old and has always been a wise woman, but this quick and casual answer made me think twice about all the advice she has given me over the years as a child, young adult and now as a parent of my own children. And I ask myself, ‘What did I miss because I wasn’t listening fully?’  My Mom and Dad are always the first people I go to with a question or crisis about parenting or life in general, for that matter.  For example, one night when I thought my son might be headed toward having a seizure (it turned out to be a night terror but the terror was all mine, trust me!), after I called 911, I called my mother.  She was there at the same time as the EMTs, maybe even before them!  That’s just the type of dedication both my parents and my sister have had for me and my children. That is a blessing beyond belief.

Anyway, I felt it important to pass this along to my readers because it is such simple, positive advice.  I recognize that some issues and problems with children require research, attention, specialists or what have you.  However, once the work is done (which really is the parent doing their homework and doing their best), then you have to sit back and hope for the best.  The movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ had a line by Morgan Freeman where he uttered, “Hope is a dangerous word.”  The movie, if you have seen it, of course has nothing to do with parenting but it is a powerful line delivered by an equally powerful actor.  When it comes to parenting, however, there is love, patience, courage and yes indeed, hope.  Thank you Mom for always knowing the right thing to say and caring enough to say it.

My Mom and her brother (Uncle Robert) who were also raised by amazing parents

My Mom and her brother (Uncle Robert) who were also raised by amazing parents


Countdown to a new year…5..4..3..2..

If ever there was a perfect time to do a counting exercise, it is right before New Year’s Day, right?  Everyone is counting down something.  My favorites are:  the top ten songs of the year, (guess who is number #79?  No, sadly, it is not me!) and the top 10 celebrity feuds (always hilarious).  2013 has been a decent year.  My two children are happy and healthy.  I am blessed to have my two parents and one sister which equals family solidarity.  I launched one website and managed to post weekly blogs despite the countless things I had to put on the backburner to complete them.

So far, I have two resolutions for 2014 but I am not sharing either one of them.  I completed two resolutions last year (one was this blog) but somehow resolutions are too private to share.  Sorry, readers but I think you will agree.  I asked many people to share their New Year’s decrees and overall, people are seriously secretive about their resolutions. While I am not revealing some things, I will admit, this has been the hardest blog to write.  I don’t know why that is.  My best guess is because it is the last one of the year.  I feel I should say something infinitely profound so that you will continue to come back next year.  That is way too much pressure for me.  So even if you don’t think so, please come back anyway.

Speaking of resolutions, my daughter doesn’t have one yet.  At the time of this posting, she will have only 14 hours left to make one.  I hope she will consider the option of replacing eye rolls with egg rolls.  Who doesn’t want an egg roll or two on New Year’s Eve, right?  My son is planning to see more movies.  He didn’t give it a number but it will be more than 10, if we do it.  Ah, 10 more cartoons in 3D with those cool glasses.  How much will that cost?  About $198 without buttered popcorn.  Oh, who cares?  You can’t put a price on fun, right?  Tonight, we will have one bottle of sparking apple cider, eat at least a dozen pastries (don’t judge, they are the bite size ones!) and watch the ball drop from our 24 inch television.  Which way do you measure a TV?  Anyway, when Auld Lang Syne (bet you didn’t know how to spell it-me either!) is playing, I will tear up at least a few times when I think of how much I would like to stop the clock and relish each moment just a little longer.  I wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year and I look forward to countless adventures together in 2014.

The Storyland clock contains an important message for all of us.

The Storyland clock contains an important message for all of us.  Enjoy yourself.  It is later than you think.






I have mentioned a few times here how my middle schooler has all types of expressions but one that is currently taking the prize for most annoying is “Awww”.  It started out as her sarcastic reaction to anything I mentioned that deserved a slight bit of emotion.   So, for example, I could say, “I cannot believe I forget to turn in this form.”  She would get that sly look, raise her eyebrows and I would think, maybe, just maybe, there will be a new comment.  There would be a delay…..then, “Awww” would arrive.

Then it escalated.  “Awww” started to be the automatic response to any question or comment from me.  I could say, “You may need a new school folder.  Your folder looks worn out.”  She would wait.  I wouldn’t see it coming.  Then, “Awww.  My folder looks worn out.”  She would smile and I would cringe internally.  “Really? Is this a conversation?” I would ask, trying to conceal how angry I was becoming over something so silly.  She would see my dismay and then it was, “Awww”.   Again.  An “Awww” on top of an “Awww.”  I started to wonder if she was losing her ability to communicate.  What if some bizarre “Awww” martians visited her middle school and implanted “Awww” chips in her brain.  Every time she would use it, I would try to be clever.  Fight fire with fire.  I would say, “So did they serve a side of sarcasm with your school lunch today?”  Awww.   Nothing worked.  There seemed to be no cure.

“You are not using this with other people, are you?”  “Awww.  Yes, I am.”  “Who, your friends?  Nana and Grampy?”  “Sure, with everyone.”  Why haven’t my parents mentioned it?  Do they not notice it?  Do they think it is cute?  Then it happened to me.  Someone at work mentioned how overwhelmed they were and in my mind I heard, “Awww.”  I think I said, “Hmmmm” or “Oh, I know”.  I hope it sounded sympathetic.  But my brain kept shouting, “Awww.”  Louder and louder.  I wanted to say it.  Oh no, it’s contagious.  You may leave this blog post and instead of a genuine reaction, you may be compelled to utter a sarcastic “Awww.”  I certainly hope not.  Please let me know…….because……Awww.  That would be terrible!

My daughter and I when she was 5......Awww, miss those days!  But loving every stage of her life!

My daughter and I when she was 5……Awww, miss those days! But loving every stage of her life!