I’m not going to mince words – parenting is a tough job.  Just when you think you’ve gotten it figured out with one child, you have to completely reassess and change the strategy for the next child.  It’s a daunting task – and there are no manuals.

Every now and then, we as parents are allowed a glimpse of the reward of our efforts.

So it was on the day Squish, my youngest, took me to lunch.  She’s been babysitting for a little girl one day a week for 3 hours and saving all her babysitting money.  Squish has a nice little nest egg and wanted to share her “fortune” by taking me out to lunch – just the two of us.  This is a big deal with so many siblings!

We ended up at Barberitos.  The restaurant that she really wanted to go to was closed for some repairs and she handled the disappointment like a trooper.  We had a wonderful lunch together – she paid the bill herself.

Next, we walked over to a store, Margo, that has lots of jewelry!  Squish loves jewelry and this was a small dream world.

This particular store allows you to create your own piece of jewelry and that was our intention when we entered.  However, Squish was so overcome by the exquisite jewelry that was already made that creating her own lost its appeal.

I’d been wanting to make a bracelet because I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere – just a simple leather braid with a few “blings” interwoven.  Squish graciously agreed to keep looking while I made my bracelet.

Pretty soon we struck up a conversation with the store owner who seemed to be a bit frazzled with trying to get things in order after the weekend.  Squish did most of the talking – she’s my social one and no person is a stranger.

The owner kept asking me, “How old did you say she is?  She seems so mature for her age.”

Other comments…   “How did she learn to converse with adults so well?”    “I have 2 daughters and they never behaved like she does at this age.”   “She’s such a joy and very pleasant.”

I’ve had people tell me, “Oh, parenting for you must have been so easy because you have such naturally good kids.”

When I hear that I just cringe. Then I laugh out loud, shake my head, and tell them how wrong they are.

“Nope, they’re normal kids, believe me.  If you came to my home, you’d see!  We just try to keep all the training we do at home and are thankful the results are seen by those outside of our home!”

The other day, my kids went to the feed store to pick up feed.  There were 3 of them – Lolo, Mae Mae, and Squish.  We’re at the feed store about once a week so they know us well as customers.  One of the older ladies said to the girls, “Do you all ever fight?  You always seem so pleasant and kind to one another.”

Without missing a beat, all 3 said “YES!”

…out of the mouths of babes…

Anyway – back to the jewelry store…

After a bit, Squish asked the owner if she could help with anything while she was waiting.  The owner, Jill, seemed a bit surprised that she would offer.  After Squish confirmed that she was serious about her offer, Jill put her to work sorting through rings by size.  Squish was in heaven!  This wasn’t work – this was play!

She worked for an hour and a half, asked appropriate questions, was careful in her sorting, and had a great attitude the entire time.  I was so proud of her as I sat quietly by working on my bracelet.

Today, I was the observer and not the instructor and I was very pleased with the results I was seeing.

It was finally time for us to go and Jill was thrilled with the accomplishments Squish had made.  Come to find out – this was a project Jill had been wanting to do for a while because it would make her work so much easier, but just hadn’t had the time.

Jill wanted to give a piece of jewelry to Squish to compensate her for her work.  Squish said, “Oh really, you don’t need to.  I wanted to help you.”

Such child-like honesty – no hidden agendas when she offered in the beginning, just a desire to be helpful.

Jill finally convinced Squish that it would make her happy to thank her for her work with a piece of jewelry.

The two of them decided on a beautiful necklace and Squish just beamed as it was placed around her neck.

When Squish asked me on the way home what was my favorite part of the day, I told her it was watching her in the shop.

She asked me why…

“Because you spoke well, you worked well, you made the lady happy, and you made me very thankful that I get to be your mommy.”