No Helicopters Allowed

OK, yes. I’m one of those moms – the kind who waits until the last minute to return my children’s permission slips, make annual checkup appointments, submit all required camp paperwork, and never volunteers for anything because, hey, on top of taking care of my kids, parents and house, I have a full-time day job and books to write, (insert expletive of your choice here)!

If my child forgets his lunch, he can buy it at school, bum from friends or go hungry for a couple of hours.

He’ll survive. I’m sure of it.

I’m guessing teachers and a large population of stay-at-home moms hate parents like me.

And I’m OK with that. I know my kids (and parents and day job and publisher) love me.

I also take solace in the fact that keeping my sites laser focused on all of the plates I have to constantly keep aloft is teaching my boys some valuable life lessons.

I don’t mean how to balance a checkbook or clear gutters or change tires.

I’m talkin’ survival skills. Cooking. And laundry.

The two still stuck at home are doing swimmingly with both – although my youngest does need the occasional prod to remember to actually turn the dryer on after he’s transferred the wet clothes from the washing machine (is there any worse feeling than pulling on a pair of damp jeans?).

They may not appreciate these skills now, but let me tell you – I sure do, especially when I’m on deadline, which lately is all the time.

Why just yesterday, I was kicking up the word count on my current work in progress, wondering how I would ever find the time to make the Swedish meatballs I had planned for dinner. As sparks flew off my keyboard, my youngest waltzed into the kitchen and moaned, “Can’t we have spaghetti and meatballs instead?”

“Nope. No meatballs. Sorry,” I shot out, after blowing the smoke from my fingertips.

“Oh, please,” he persisted. “I’ll make it.”

The clouds parted and a brilliant beam of light came through the kitchen window and landed in his cherubic face.

“Done!” I barreled over and gave him a hug. “Get your shoes. We’re going shopping.”

While at the store, I let him pick all of the ingredients – even a few I never would’ve selected (parpardelle noodles, really?), but how else will he learn, right?

We were there and back in the time it would have taken me to set everything up just to make the Swedish meatballs from scratch.

From my perch at the table, I acted as an on-site supervisor for the young man who is growing before my very eyes and, I’m proud to admit, he commandeered the kitchen like a pro. That he cleaned up after himself earned him enough brownie points to keep him out of the dog house for years to come (ok, make that months).

And let me tell you, he got more complements from his sibs and pop than I ever got when I make plain old spaghetti and meatballs. As for me? I told him I think he just created his first signature dish – the first of many, I’m sure. Oh yeah, and I also told him how proud I was of him, damp jeans and all.


5 thoughts on “No Helicopters Allowed

  1. Inspiring! I yearn for the day my child cooks dinner. Or cleans up after, all the way to putting the pots and pans away. I don’t care which one. 🙂


  2. I was a *Last Minute* Lizzy all through my boys childhoods but have to admit, I did volunteer. I don’t know how I did it…..I do know I was bleary eyed many days…….mornings, afternoons,evenings…so maybe that’s how I did it!

    I had three part-time jobs when my kids were in junior high and high school. I’m a choral conductor and one of my jobs was directing a children’s choir, which rehearsed every Wednesday after school. I always had a sitter and expected her to put in my pre-made casseroles or frozen pizzas right before I got home so we could eat dinner at a decent time. Hubby, who is a physician, could not be counted on to get home in time to get the food in. When the kids were all in high school, I didn’t need the sitter any longer and expected the kids to put dinner in the double ovens. My middle boy was usually in charge of turning the oven on and putting in the food. One Wednesday, he turned on the upper oven and put the casserole in the bottom oven…um, uh-oh. But he learned something that day (and we sent out for pizza after we realized what happened)…always make sure you put the food in the oven you’ve turned on! True story! BTW, he’s an excellent cook now.


    1. Three part-time jobs while your kids were in school? Pre-made casseroles? You are one plate-spinning super hero, Marie! Loved that your son learned from his mistake. 🙂 Thanks for writing!


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