Training Season

4411 4411_ () 4411 4411 I overheard a conversation between two of my boys one recent weekday morning. One boy was looking for his P.E. uniform shorts and when he couldn’t find them, I heard him calmly ask his brother if he had a spare.

“I can’t find my shorts,” said the boy to his brother, “do you have an extra pair I can borrow?”

“Sure,” was the matter-of-fact reply, “check my laundry basket.”

Just like that, epic meltdown averted. One boy assessing his situation, determining a possible solution and following through on getting the job done — all on his own.

None of this might sound like a big deal, but there was a time (maybe last year, maybe last week) when missing P.E. shorts could have signaled the end of civilization as we know it. For some reason, on a hectic weekday morning when we are trying to get out the door and down to the school, articles of clothing not being where they should (neat and clean and folded in the laundry basket) can feel very overwhelming indeed.

And on those occasions when things are not where they should be, it can be very frustrating for all parties involved, myself included. No one has time for bumps in the road, and even though we know they happen and try to plan for them, they feel like bumps just the same.

How many times have I had to calmly intervene in the midst of these frustrating moments to gently tell a boy that we could figure out Plan B if something wasn’t available. Maybe it isn’t clean yet, maybe it’s missing in action. Either way, it’s not the ideal but also not the end of the world.

For some reason, it’s not always easy to explain this phenomenon to a child who is only interested in getting his stuff loaded in his bookbag. These moments, for whatever reason, can get a little crazy.

This time around, I was so grateful to overhear this gentle interaction, one boy figuring out all on his own how to fix this problem. It was such a small moment, but also quite tremendous.

There are so many facets to my job as Mother and Domestic Engineer of the Family Balducci. Many of the things I tackle each day are the practical in’s and out’s of running a household — menu, laundry, cleaning, basketball shuttle. I do all of these things, in addition to the care and feeding and loving and nurturing of my precious children. It’s a joy, don’t get me wrong. But as you may very well know, it’s a lot to manage.

But on top of all of this, the underlying and overriding theme of my life as Mom is that I’m training these children of mine for the day when they are no longer here, living in my nest. It’s hard to believe that will ever be the case, my life is so wrapped up in this blessed season of cooking and cleaning and driving and doing, doing, doing.

Ultimately, I’m sometimes sad to remember (and sometimes not), I am tasked with the strangely complicated endeavor of preparing my sweet little babies for the day they leave me. Paul and I are here to teach them how to be strong young men (and one little lady) who will need to figure out how to manage life and find their way — and find their shorts, or figure out a solution.

On that recent weekday morning, when my boy calmly and efficiently came up with a plan to what once could have produced a meltdown of epic proportions — well, I knew we were getting somewhere. A little bit of progress, a glimmer of hope, a reminder that children do grow up so hug them tight, oh so tight, while they are here in your care, relying on your love.

This originally appeared in The Southern Cross. 4411″ .



  1. You can get an amen from me. I was just saying to my husband this morning, “No matter how many lists I make for me and the kids to check, they’re always missing SOMETHING in the morning and they turn it into a WWIII crisis.” And, of course, I also overreact. Where do they learn these things?! 😉 I have to remind myself it’s “normal.” And take deep breaths.

  2. Beth Thompson says

    Just beautiful.

  3. Love it. We do need to look for those small victories of growing independence and problem solving and celebrate them! Parenting is such a “don’t give up on doing good” endeavour. Keeping our eyes on the goal of independence for these kids isn’t so easy in the midst of all the “doing”, but when you start to see little bits happening, it is such a joy.

  4. Wonderful. I know exactly what you mean, and when you get a glimpse of progress, it is a slice of the future and it is so lovely and whistful at the same time, congratulations.