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View from the Other Side

Momservation: When being an expert on parenting means planting rose bushes under kids’ windows and regularly tasting the liquor to water ratio in your vodka.

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I just got booked for my first speaking engagement since Covid! It’s still on Zoom, but “back to normal” has to start somewhere!

I was tickled that my friend, Traci Trask, thought of me as a great guest speaker for the San Diego chapter of Teen Volunteers in Action (TVIA).

When I asked her what the theme was and what she saw my expertise being, she replied, “Parenting! I thought of your book, DON’T FORGET YOUR LUNCH, because I loved the lens you look through on parenting and choosing to see it from the lighter side. We have kids from seventh grade to senior year plus their parents in this volunteer organization who are tired of hearing how to be safe during Covid. I want to end the year giving the parents a fun look at what’s to come.”

I excitedly clapped by hands and asked, “How much time do I have?”

I then started rattling off some of things I could talk about, both the diapers to diploma years from the book, and what it looks like on “the other side”—when you are no longer actively parenting and your kids problems are no longer your problems (to an extent).

“Oh, man! The middle school and high school years—pull up a chair, do I have some stories and lessons learned from those years! I could start with ‘Top Ten Rules for Kids,’ maybe touch on the challenges of ‘Parenting in the Digital Age,’ and all the wonderful things teenagers will do that make us think ‘The Terrible Twos Never Looked So Good.’

“I can share the secret of the ‘The Best Damn Advice for Parents of High Schoolers,’ and ‘4 Things Your Teens Want for Christmas,’ that’s really about finding common ground with your kids. Then I can have them check for ‘Signs You Might be a Helicopter Parent.’

“I can give them a heads up about the ‘The Better Offer Years,’ and ‘License to Drive the Crash Car.’ I’ll point out the dangers of Lawn Mower Parenting with ‘Too Precious to Fail,’ and then remembering to cut themselves some slack with ‘A Long Over-Due Apology Letter to My Parents,’ and joining Tthe ‘Last Laughs Club.’

“And then for those poor parents of seniors, I’ll have them get out their tissues for ‘Where is Home Going to Be?‘ and what it looks like dropping your kids off at college with ‘Going Full Golden.’

“Then I’ll finish with what it looks like when your last kid leaves home and you’re ‘Designated for Reassignment‘ and what the ‘The Five Stages of Empty Nesting‘ looks like, and the euphoria of embracing this next chapter of life with ‘Adulting – It’s Your Problem to Solve Now.'”

“Kelli, you only have 30 minutes,” Traci reminded me.

“Hmm, okay. I’ll scale it back. But I definitely need to end with the secret to happiness when all the heavy lifting of raising kids is over,” I said.

“Can I get a sneak peek?” asked Traci.

“It’s not really a secret as much as a realization. Once you can settle in to your new job of just listening and supporting your kids, the bottom line of parenting becomes crystal clear: You’re only as happy as your saddest child. And if your kids end up in life feeling fulfilled in what they do, happy in their choices, are in good health, and wake up every day with a gratitude for being blessed…then you are an expert in parenting too.”

#DontForgetYourLunch  #ParentingExpert  #EnjoyTheJourney

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