Daughters know best

C.Esther DeWolde

Before you read this, I must point out that, although this becomes the official Persons of Influence blog post #17 and #18, the numbers are in no way representative of the level of Influence these two have had on me.

In fact they should be in the Top 3 for sure.

They are our two daughters and their influence on my life extends way past personal, deep into my corporate career and on Phantom Screens.

So let me introduce Courtney Johanna (’95) and Madison Lyn (’98) our daughters from our 31 years of marriage. Do the math and you will note our first 9 years were sans kids. The remaining 22 was with them and I wouldn’t change that for anything, especially now as we slide into our second year of empty-nesting.

I admit it, I’m missing them a lot.

These two bright, unique, happy, wise and wise-crackin’ gals have kept their mama on her toes from day one! Having managed hundreds of staff directly and indirectly, I pretty much figured I knew how to run a crew, much less two skinny farm kids.

Oh how wrong I would be!

First lesson up is the power of doing what I say.

Whether you are a parent, an uncle, grandma, or Sunday school teacher – those little eyes are watching every move you make. When, not if, when your actions don’t match up to what you have told them… WHAM!!! It’ll fly back in your face faster than a creaky screen porch door.

And mark my words, our two girls have no fear of vocalizing their observation immediately and in front of anybody. But really, I’d have it no other way. Although I wouldn’t mind if they’d lose the scoreboard and finally forget the times they’ve heard me use some words I ain’t proud of saying.

The second free lesson from the girl birdies in my nest is keeping life’s priorities in order.

I’m pretty sure I do not stand alone on this one as a mother working outside of the home. Again, I am thankful both Courtney and Madison knew how to keep me in check without me feeling like they were intentionally laying guilt trips on me or being all whiny about it.

Leave it to them to say it like it is…

“Mom, you made Dad go skating with the class last week so it’s your turn to come watch me swim.” “Mom, you worked all week, put the laptop down and look at me when I am talking to you” (funny how that line would reverse itself when they reached teenage years).

They weren’t heart-wrenching, heart-string pulling words, just practical advice out of the mouths of babies. I tried to heed with all my might, balancing motherhood with corporate plans, field trips with business trips and bagged school lunch making with dining out with clients.

I have become the Queen of Balancing.

Certainly not the last lesson taught to me by them, but the last for this blog was and continues to be humility.

Nothing and no one keeps me more humble than these two offspring. They seem to make it their life’s mission to point out my shortcomings and failures. I swear it has become a game for them, but then again I’m pretty easy prey.

It started out so innocently on my part when they were young.

I loved to make them giggle themselves silly by telling them what dumb thing had happened to me that day. You’d almost think I searched out silly things to do just to hear their heart-warming laughter at the dinner table.

Recently I now realize they take huge pleasure of re-telling my foibles to their friends, making me out to look like the child and them the mothers.

I don’t know if that’ll ever change though. I always seem to forget that my desire to hear them enjoy my life’s crazies actually becomes future ammunition for them to fling at me.

Just yesterday in my haste to leave the house to get to work on time, I noticed the dog’s empty water dish outside. I hurriedly ran to turn the garden tap on, picked up the hose to fill her dish (all the while balancing files and my hot coffee mug in the other hand) only to accidentally drop the running hose into my cowboy boot.

And I kid you not, the first thing I thought of was wait ’til the girls hear this one.

I guess I’m just a sucker for punishment.

Enough about me. Tell me the lessons you’ve learned from the ankle-biters in your life. I bet between us we could write a book.