Friday, April 19, 2013

Straight Up Parenting Genius

Who would have thought,

that one of my proudest parenting moments.

In all the years of mothering my girls.

Would come from the simple image you see above.

A janitor's closet.


There among the trash bags, the mops and window cleaner.

That's where it happened.

Kate was starting her sophomore year at Clemson.

A member of the Women's Rowing Team.

She was given an opportunity to move in one day early that fall.

With one stipulation.

She must join her teammates in helping incoming Freshmen on "move in" day.

Simple.   Straightforward.    Tote refrigerators & comforters.

Pillows and mini-frig's.


So, Kate moved in one day early.

And the next morning?


She wasn't feeling the whole Freshman move in thing so much.

Nahh......just not feeling it.


She didn't help.

Like me, you might be surprised.

That anybody really noticed.

Clemson's a big school, right?

And Freshman move in day is pretty chaotic.

Cars parked everywhere.

Masses of parents and students in and out.

Did anyone really notice that she didn't show?


As it turned out......yes.

Why yes, they did.

Not only did they notice.

They took quite a bold step.

They mailed her mama and daddy.

That would be "us."

An invoice.

A $100 fine for moving in one day early.

And......not helping as she had agreed.

Sophomore, Kate Dublin.

Student.   Unemployed.   No source of income.

My kid.

Staring blankly at the invoice.

My mouth hung open.

I asked my sweet husband.

"What should we do?"

"Kate doesn't have the money to pay this!?"

"And I can promise you, I don't think we should HAVE to pay it!?"

My sweet husband.

My sweet, "enabling" husband.

He showed the same grace to Kate that he offers so freely to me.

"It's not a big deal," he says.

"She's a good kid."

"Just send them a check."


Just send them a check?


I can only describe what happened next as a stroke of mother genius!

A plan so diabolical and perfect, no father would ever consider it!

It hit me in a flash.

"Heck no, I'm not sending them a check!" I said.

"I know what to do!"

And yes.

I did what any self-respecting, non-enabling, genius mother would do.

I called the housing department at my dear alma mater.

And I asked if Kate could "work off" her $100 debt to Clemson University.

What wonderful, insightful (CLEARLY parents themselves) staff worked there.

"Yes," they said.

"We can work that out."

"Just have Kate report to our office after class this week."

And I did.

She hardly blinked an eye and went straight away.

Thinking perhaps she might have to sit at a desk or monitor a dorm lobby.



Instead, those insightful.

creative people.

At the Housing Department at Clemson.

They assigned my daughter to the custodial team on campus.


The custodial team.

Those wonderful, under appreciated people who clean up after football games.

Who keep the bathrooms tidy and the paper towel dispensers filled.

That.........hard working team.

It was a proud moment.

I won't lie.

Just the thought of it brings a smile to my face!


She worked off her $100 early move in fine.

Picking up trash.

Cleaning up after her classmates.

Working side by side.

With the custodial crew across campus.

Kate on a custodial crew golf cart.

Trash bags in tow.

Waving to her friends.

Who were........

No doubt a little confused.


Some things just linger on long after they have passed.

This memory has for me!

One of my best mother moments.


And on a more serious note.

Why do we think that we ever do our kids a favor by protecting them from
consequences......and hardship?

And no.

I'm not throwing stones, here.

Remember.....she was in college before I fully figured this one out.

We don't do our kids any favors by swooping in to work out their
problems.    Or smooth things over for them.

Or to send in a check to cover their mistakes.


They may just need to climb on a golf cart.

Swing a bag of trash over their shoulder.


well, you know the rest.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE it! A parenting genius AND a kid still willing to learn. Awesome!