Friday morning I woke up to some pretty heavy criticism about my post on Thursday. If you didn’t the post, I wrote about what it was like for me to watch my oldest son run Cross Country. Here it is – go on and read it if you haven’t – otherwise this post won’t make sense.

So, this is the nicely worded criticism I received via my Mom from a friend of hers who thoughtfully took the time to write:

How to deal with Criticism

Yeesh! So, how do I handle this type of criticism? Well, first off, can I just say ‘Dude! Someone besides my Mom read my blog! Score!

Okay, let’s see if the criticism is warranted. His first concern is that James might read this blog and see that I said he was slow. Well, that’s a valid concern. I would be beyond upset if James read the blog. It’s a concern for anyone that blogs about their kids, I guess.

I think that’s why you see a million blogs by women that have toddlers and not so many of women that have teenagers. Having said that I can’t imagine a scenario in which James would read my blog but I guess you never know. It is something to thing about.

My concern isn’t so much that he would see that I said he was slow…he knows that. They were literally taking the course down around him as he was finishing last week. I am concerned though that he might read the blog and think I said he didn’t have any heart. I feel like that accusation was way off. James absolutely has heart – that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need more. Heck, don’t we all need more?

But, I do see why the commenter thought that I said he didn’t have heart. I wrote that sentence about heart very poorly – ya know, like I write a lot of my sentences.

As far as why it upsets me to watch him at meets…It upsets me because it’s hard for me to see him struggle. It hurts me for him but I can assure you he does not know that it upsets me. My first words to him when I see him are always ‘Great job! I’m so proud of you!’ That’s what the coach told us to say so that’s what I say.

And plus, I am proud of him. I’m proud as heck of him! He didn’t quit, he doesn’t come off crying or complaining and mostly, I’m just so dang proud of how he handles practice.

Like I said in the post: ‘…without fail every time I pick him up from practice he is more relaxed, more confident, and more self assured than when I left him.’ How could I not be proud of that.

Seriously, this kid IS my heart.

Auburn James Paula

Am I concerned that I sometimes write negative things about my kids on the blog? Yes. It could definitely come back to bite me. The only way I know how to blog, though, is honestly. And if you want to read blogs where the kids and the parents are perfect and nothing bad ever happens you can find them anywhere you want. For real, there are a million of them.

We struggle just like you do and I feel like it helps other people to read about those struggles. 

Judgemental toddler

‘What do you mean you say bad stuff about us sometimes?’

I appreciate the criticism and I definitely will be more careful about how I say things in the future.



In the Spring, we told James, the seventh grader, that he would be joining the Cross Country team in the Fall. Notice how I phrased that last sentence? We told him he’d be joining. Yeah, we made him do it. Ever since his disastrous foray into the world of Little League basketball we’ve been allowing him to avoid any sort of team sport. And we’ve subsequently watched him become more and more Zen with the couch and his laptop. He has plenty of good friends but it was beyond time for him to get a little physical activity into his life.

It’s been interesting to see. He hems and haws and complains about it but without fail every time I pick him up from practice he is more relaxed, more confident, and more self assured than when I left him. Now, having said that, he’s slower than Christmas. Slower than slower than Christmas. It’s like if Christmas were a leap year type thing. That’s how slow he he is. BUT, he does it. He doesn’t quit.

At the first meet, Westminster, Randolph, and Altamont were all set up right next to each other. I was pretty excited about a private school rumble but, alas, everyone was nice to each other. Darn kids these days. Where is their passionate hatred for their rivals?


The exercise is good for him but mostly just being part of a team is good for him. And it’s got to be good for him to be around stellar kids and adults that work hard and have fun. The meets are pretty high tech these days. Each runner wears a digital chip on their shoes and that’s what keeps track of their time. After the race the coaches collect the chips and turn them back in.

IMG_6158Watching him run is pretty traumatizing for me. Seriously traumatizing. I mean, I just want him to do well and he just doesn’t. He is consistently either in last place or really close to it. And it hurts my heart. I try to stay positive but inside my guts feel all squishy as I wait and wait and wait for him to round the bend.


It frustrates me because really it’s my fault he’s so slow. We were supposed to make him run in the summer and we didn’t. Oh, we occasionally told him to but it was pretty rare. Once or twice a week sporadically and that just doesn’t cut it. In fact, it might have made it worse.

But he still tries. And hopefully, this season will be a win for him and he’ll develop some heart. Or maybe he won’t and this will just add fuel to his ‘See Mom, I’m just not a sports guy fire.‘ I don’t know. \

Like everything else that involves parenting only time and luck will tell.


This Sums it Up

This Sums it Up

Well, just like the rest of you I saw a parade of happy children on the first day of school on my FaceBook feed. They were holding bright shining lunch boxes and wearing big ole smiles.

Every year I go kicking and screaming into the start of school. My kids are naturally late sleepers so I abhor those early morning starts. Plus school just starts earlier and earlier every year.

When I was a kid we started school the week after Labor Day. Hashtag Get Off My Lawn! This year? My kids started August 5th. Isn’t that insane? The good news is we get a nice week for Fall Break but still…August freaking fifth.

I’ll just put our first day of school picture out there like this…


One happy child and two belligerent cretins. There was no smiling to be had. Oh look, one is just wearing socks and no shoes. Hope that changed by the time he got to school. 

As for me, for the very first time in my life with kids, I was happy about school starting. Just ready to be back in the routine. I don’t even know who I am anymore! Wanting the kids to start school! What is this world coming to?

The day before school started we went down to Bessemer to Alabama Splash Adventure. It was fun. Well, the part where we weren’t melting was fun. Brought all the nieces.

Alabama Splash Adventure

It was hotter than a mother.

Seriously, so dang hot.


These girls? So dang cute.

Bet they were’t smiling that big when it was time for them to start to school.