There are few things as humorous as trying to explain the difference between “needs” and “wants” to a group of young children. For reasons our adult brains cannot understand, they honestly believe they need certain things to survive, including the newest plastic doll, video game, or the latest in absurd fashion crazes. I remember this feeling quite well, trying to convince my parents in the early 1980’s that I needed parachute pants or else life would just not go on. In my attempt to avoid having to enlighten my own kids, I find that nothing better puts life into perspective than a good ol’ family camping trip. And I’m not talking about loading up an RV and driving to campground where you plug in your satellite dish and the dangly Christmas-type lights from your instant front porch. I’m talking about the sort of camping that involves a tent, a fire, the hum of a Coleman lantern, and walking a half a mile to use the bathroom. It’s a beautiful thing, really. With the lim
If you add up the ages of all of my children, I’ve been a mom for almost 38 years, which is almost as long as I’ve been on this Earth. You might think that I have most things figured out. I know I did. But as it turns out, you’re never too old a mom to learn new tricks. This tip came from the brilliant family of the child who has the locker next to my oldest daughter. Both freshmen in high school, one day my daughter saw him pull a girly lunchbox out of his bookbag. There must have been an exchange of expressions and the explanation followed. “I forgot my lunchbox at school yesterday so my mom packed my lunch in this princess Lunchbox of Shame. I’m never going to forget it at school again.” Upon hearing this story, my eyes got wide and I probably stood there, mouth agape, wondering why I hadn’t thought of this long, long ago. While our children are pretty good at remembering to bring their lunch boxes home, they are terrible at r
One year when I was a kid, my dad bought my mom a potato chip maker that he had obviously purchased at the drug store on his way home from work just barely before Christmas. I don’t remember for certain, but I would bet that I was the one who wrapped it. I do, however, remember that we never once made potato chips. It wasn’t my dad’s fault, really. He was a busy working guy and it was long before the Internet and prime shipping made holiday shopping easier. I don’t think he even knew how to get to a shopping mall, which was a good thing because I’ve never actually seen a dad shopping in a mall. I’m pretty sure they just hang out on the benches by the exits. The potato chip maker was not the perfect present to give, but it begs the question, how do you choose what to give the people you love? I really don’t have the answer, but I do tend to go through these several steps when trying to figure out what I’m going to give someone. Because I do lo
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