The kids, like many adults (ahem, me) have a habit of griping. Quickly they run down the list of things that weren’t fair, or fun, or friendly that they somehow heroically survived each day. This morning on the car ride to soccer it was no different. In place of my usual, “be nice/ if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all / nice, nice, baby” reply to such matters my husband slid in a think piece (he’s like that). “It’s easy to say what is wrong with a situation and more challenging to offer solutions to fix it”. Oh, yeah, go ahead and drop the parenting mic right there, Dad.
An eerie (fantastic and glorious) hush fell upon us while we soaked that one in. The kids framed this as a game – and suggested that if we found ourselves in the same problem again it would be best to spend that time thinking up a viable solution to their perceived slight. Nearly four hours of Florida sunshine and soccer later I had forgotten the conversation. We ate lunch, the kids showered and rested and my husband and I worked on our backyard project. I have to say I wasn’t buoyed by the gratitude I should have had been feeling especially when I stepped down onto a screw (I implore you to wear something other than flipflops at all times, folks). Hours after that, plus showers and dinner time we all came together again.
There was a disagreement about what movie to watch – the girls usually watch a movie together in one room or another on the weekends and it was Little Sister’s turn to pick the title. Big Sister didn’t want to watch it. Then she said as much. Then something far more magnificent happened. She wrote down several reasons why she didn’t want to watch the movie and offered Little Sister five alternative movies that they both liked and asked her to consider picking one from her list: thus a choose-your-own-solution game began. Dad for the win.