Whenever she drops her off, my friend Katrina tells her daughter Elsie (16) to make good choices.
“Make good choices,” Katrina says from the car or the porch or at the camp bus. “Make good choices!”
And Elsie rolls her eyes and says a dry, “OK, Mom; got it,” as well she should since the most questionable choice Elsie ever made was getting too close to my kid when they were toddlers, coming away with some nice, deep, Abby-shaped teeth marks embossed on her lily white, pudgy arm for her friend-making efforts.
I think “make good choices” is the most brilliant phrase ever, though, especially now that I’m a mom of teens, so I say it to Abby every chance I get. I mean, I say it when leaving her at friends’ houses and dropping her off at school, obviously, but I like to really emphasize the importance of making good choices all the time. Like when she heads into the bathroom at Target, I say “Make good choices!” And when she’s headed to hang out with her grandparents, I remind her, “Good choices, Abby. Good choices.” And last week on her way into the operating room, after I’d hugged her and kissed her and told her I love her, just before the nurse and the anesthesiologist rolled her through the final set of doors, I hollered down the hall, “MAKE GOOD CHOICES, BABY,” and I watched Abby shake her blue surgical cap back and forth and mutter, “yeah – that’s my mom” to the giggling staff.
Make good choices. It’s good advice all the time.
Which is why I yelled it today at a teenaged friend who’s leaving for camp. He walked out of my front door after saying a morose good-bye to his friends – he’ll be away for a whole week – so I followed him to be helpful, and because I care. “Make good choices!” I yelled, and then, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” for good measure.
Except my dad and my husband were present, and they heard me.
“Really, Beth?” asked my husband. “Make good choices AND don’t do anything you wouldn’t do? How’s he supposed to pull that off?”
“Yeah,” said my father. “Geez. Way to confuse a kid, Beth. There’s really nothing in common with those two statements. Make good choices AND do what you’d do? That’s conflicted advice.”
Father: “Practically impossible.”
Husband: “Draw a Venn diagram, and it’s basically a bicycle.”
And they walked away, cackling.
In conclusion, my family is a group of crap-givers. Every one.
And you can pray for me.
P.S. I drew that Venn diagram myself so there would be some overlap. Geez.