I was sort of asking for it.
One of the downsides of having your kids in activities is the people running those activities need funds to do the things you are asking them to do with your kids – make crafts, teach them a sport, just plain teach them.
These things cost money, so they ask the parents to sell wrapping paper and frozen pizzas to help them finance all the wonderful things they are doing with our children.
I sometimes wonder if my time would be better spent making crafts and playing soccer with my kids instead of selling stuff to people who don’t want it so my kids can do these things with other adults.
But, my youngest daughter loves her Camp Fire club. And we love it, too. It’s an awesome organization. So, every winter we lug home boxes of chocolate praying we can pawn them off on friends and family members who have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions to eat better. I feel really guilty selling them to my diabetic mother.
This year, my daughter came home with the goal of selling four cases. That didn’t seem too daunting until I realized they had changed the system and there were 30 chocolate bars in each case. How were we going to sell 120 chocolate bars? We don’t know that many people.
There were two options: one, hold each member of our four-person household responsible for eating an entire case of chocolate (which initially had its benefits but on further reflection seemed like it would put one of us in the hospital); or two, sell some at work.
I went with option number two. Like a good salesperson, I waited until my marks were primed for my product: 3 p.m. on a payday Friday. I sold a whole case in less than two hours. God bless the food-loving maniacs I work with!
My daughter was very appreciative and wanted to write me a “book” as a thank you. She asked what I wanted a book about and I said I wanted one about how awesome I am. So, in a way, I was begging to be complimented.
When I got home, there was a page and a half of hand-written reasons why I’m awesome. They fell into four categories.
What she thought she should say
These are the lines most mothers have seen written in a construction paper card at some point. I like to call them “Zoe’s Greatest Hits” because she brings them out on a pretty consistent basis.
“She is awesome because she cares for me.”
“She’s awesome because she provides food and shelter for me.”
“She’s awesome because she buys me clothes.”
“She’s awesome because she goes to my recitles.” (Her spelling, not mine)
“She’s awesome because she reads to me.”
“She’s awesome because she has a good sense of style.”
“She’s awesome because she has good taste in music.”
“She’s awesome because she is crafty.”
“She is awesome because she is very, very, very, very, very, very nice.” (The overuse of “very” is a dead give-away here. I’m nice, but not that nice.)
“She’s awesome because she is funny.”
“She’s awesome because she’s really good at coloring.”
Stuff that seems a bit more factual
“She’s awesome when she lets me use her library card to check out books when I leave my library card at home.”
“She’s awesome because she sometimes buys us pizza.”
“She’s awesome because she bought me my very own desk.”
“She’s awesome because she buys me treats.”
“She’s awesome because she is clean.” (Ummm…what?)
Then there were the things that made me cry. Legitimately sob. Hard.
“She’s awesome because she pays attention to me when I’m talking.”
“She’s awesome because she appreciates me for my drawings.”
“She’s awesome because she makes me feel important.”
I bring this up not to brag about how awesome I am, because honestly, I’m not. Most of this list was padding.
But as parents we do a lot of things for our kids that go unnoticed. And that’s fine. It’s part of what we sign up for.
When we get the rare opportunity to see ourselves through their eyes and that image is one that is attentive, funny and clean … well, it makes it all the more worthwhile.
And all I had to do was sell a case of chocolate to get it.