Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Character Building with Pickles

Rain poured outside. My five year old stood in the kitchen smearing peanut butter on a piece of bread. Lightning flashed and the power went out. The kids looked at me to do something. So I yelled, “COME BACK ON, POWER!!”

Nothing happened. So I shrugged. My eldest shook her head at me, “sorry, mom.”

The lights came back on.

I did a HAHAHAHA dance, “that’s right! Mama has the……”

The lights went back off.

My son looked at his sandwich and pouted. Food is important to him and for a moment it seemed that this sandwich wasn’t going to happen. “Shit.” I declared. I swear in front of my kids. Not all the time, but often enough that they know I am grown up and I can do what I want. Most importantly, I can do things they can’t. I earned that right by surviving my parents and one day they will also earn the right to establish superiority over their kids. It is the cycle of life. Like lions and giraffes and the word “shit’. Anyway, we needed to get this lunch show on the road, because I had to get to work.

I turned to the kitchen shelf and saw the dill pickles Mr. P and I had canned the weekend past. “We are ready for this, guys!” I exclaimed to the kids. “We are PREPARED. We have canned goods! We can handle an outage! You can bring pickles to school!” It was obvious to me, at this point, I am a professional homesteader. I was ready to go off the grid. I imagined my bonnet. As long as I could charge my phone in the car I would be OK. “We don’t need electricity!”

My daughter gave me the ‘da fuq?’ face. “Or, Mom, we can finish making the sandwich.” Well, that was hardly fun. But she was right. So, he smeared on the last of peanut butter and stuck the sandwich in a bag as the lights came on. The children and Mother Nature collaborated to dash my Little House on the Prairie dream.

“It’s POURING out.” I declared as I gathered my car keys. “And I have to get to work.” I eyed the children who were getting their backpacks. “I could take you with me, then drop you off, each at school, then go back…. But…” The frontierswoman inside of me said “NO. They can get wet.” I told the kids to get umbrellas. “Get umbrellas. You can make it to the bus and get wet if you must!” I felt good. I was not going to raise children who were scared of water. Or bugs. Or mud or sweat or hard work or the word ‘no’. That’s right. I. AM. MOTHER. This was good.

I nodded my head, empowered by my parenting decisions. Damn straight. This is what we call “CHARACTER BUILDING.”

I squatted down and looked the kids in the eyes, “I will drop you off at the bus stop, but you are going to wait in the rain for the bus. OK?” I searched their eyes for fear. “This is what we call ‘CHARACTER BUILDING’” My daughter put her hand on my shoulder, “we can walk mom, it’s no big deal.” I turned to her, “No. I could drive you to school. I could. You wouldn’t have to stand in the rain at all. I could even pick you up a donut at Tim Horton’s. But I AM NOT GOING TO. I am going to make you stand in the rain. You will thank me one day.”

I smiled at her and took her hand. She smiled back and said, “OK, Mom, whatever.”

“Grab your umbrella!” I enthusiastically pushed them toward the door. And we exited the house. We exited into a new day, filled with opportunities and lessons. Ready to take what comes our way and roll with it. A day of silver linings to dry our doubts.

A day where the sun was shining down on us as soon as we got in the car. The kids chucked their umbrellas in the back seat.

Thanks, Mother Nature, thanks for the support.


  1. You've got this parenting thing all figured out, yo. Nice.
    Also? Pickles! You canned pickles with your husband. That is hard core homesteading shit. You are my hero.

  2. I totally would've taken the pickles to school. And I had to walk in the rain to school a lot. A lot. And look how great I turned out! :)

  3. Is your facebook page down?? I had a link I was going to send to you because it looks like something you would post, but I couldn't post it because I couldn't find your page. So here is the link:

  4. Where are you on Facebook? We are missing you! We had so much fun with the sister pictures and all of your parenting antics.
    Amy and Arin :)