Two big ones were very small simple things.
The first is to know of a good key smith. Ferdie's is the locksmith near me.
They saved me from a weekend of torture which could only be described as being pecked to death by a chicken.
One of my colleagues lost the keys to his lockbox. He would have been stressed about it and in turn tortured everyone else in the house about it.
I brought the box to Ferdie's, he picked the lock, I got the stuff out from the box and left it there. They made me new keys by getting impressions from the lock-amazing. Ferdie's saved the day.
I hear that they will come to you, for a fee, and pick locks to your car and house if you need them to. They can also crack safes. It is beyond cool.
The second is to know of a good cobbler, especially if you have expensive leather shoes or boots.
I bring my boots to Abe's every year, in either Spring or Fall. I get them back almost new, and very shiny.
I've had the same pair of motorcycle boots for 10 years thanks to my cobbler.
The third is probably the most important thing. It was the most difficult one for me to learn.
If you have been stciking around for some time, you may remember the post from last May that made mention of the dreaded Vocabulary Parade:
If you check it, you will see the hats that my kids made. They didn't win anything, for which they were VERY disappointed.
You see, it's quite obvious that I made those hats. Very obvious to everyone else I'm sure.
Ever see that Simpsons episode where Homer has to make Lisa's state of Florida costume and she wins a prize for a costume that was obviously NOT made by her parents, even though it was Homer who made it. I can't remember where Marge was:
So the kids who make their own things with no help from parents are the ones who win, or so it seems. Poor Lisa.
I made the hats and they won nothing-the whole vocabulary parade was not about who wins, but all the same.
I have no business making my kid's projects.
It was a "Duh!' smack myself in the forehead moment.
For Christmas, Gretel decided to make her class Christmas cards. On lined notebook paper. She planned to include bookmarks. On lined notebook paper.
In my opinion, that was going to go over like a fart in church.
But remembering the Vocabulary Parade, I kept my mouth shut and let her do it her way.
In the end, her friends actually liked her cards and it went great.
For Valentines day, she made her cards from colored construction paper, a step up that was her choice and she came to me to ask for the paper to make them.
Von opted for Angry Bird cards, happily-he can fill them out himself.
All I asked was that the cards were not scattered everywhere while they were being made and filled out.
This Winter vacation, Gretel wanted to have a party for a few friends. Again, I let her do it her way. I took her to the store and she chose her own paper plates and party favors.
I just stood by with the wallet.
Ok, I'll admit to steering her towards getting kazoos as favors. I did it to be a jerk. I'm not sorry. 2 families got 2 kid free hours-dinner included-
Nothing comes for free! Enjoy your many hours of kazoo music!(cue evil maniacal laughter)
The party was great. I stayed out of it. B got the pizza and we stayed in the kitchen and let the kids run the show, only periodically distracting them with food or kazoos when it started to get crazy.
I have learned to let the kids do it their way. That was lesson 3.
My assumptions at how things will turn out are usually colored by my own, not so great, childhood experiences.
It is hard to let go of control and it's hard to hold back when you are so afraid of your child failing or becoming disappointed or hurt, but it's necessary.
And so far, I have been wrong about the end result-happily wrong.
There is also no stress or butting heads by telling my kids how I think something should be, when they are the ones who know better about what they want and how things like word hats and parties should be.
The kids are on their own for the next Vocabulary Parade. I'm just a chaperone.