My doctor friend moved his family to a small town in Montana. An Italian American raised in Philadelphia, he wanted his kids to enjoy clean the benefits of air and the outdoors.
The locals were thrilled to have a doctor of their own, and were always inviting him and his family over for dinner. During one visit, one of his daughters told a rancher’s daughter, "We’re Italian."
Somewhat confused, the little girl replied, "We’re Ranch."
Rushing to get to the movies, my husband and I told the kids we had to leave "right now" — at which point our teenage daughter headed for the bathroom to apply makeup. Her dad yelled for her to get in the car immediately, and headed for the garage grumbling.
On the way to the multiplex my husband glanced in the rearview mirror and caught our teen applying lipstick and blush, which produced the predictable lecture. "Look at your mom," he said. "She didn’t put on any makeup just to go sit in a dark movie theater."
From the back I heard, "Yeah, but Mom doesn’t need makeup." My heart swelling with the compliment, I turned back to thank this sweet, wonderful daughter of mine just as she continued, "Nobody looks at her."
I discussed peer pressure and cigarettes with my 12-year-old daughter. Having struggled for years to quit, I described how I had started smoking to “be cool”.
As I outlined the arguments kids might make to tempt her to try it, she stopped me mid-lecture, saying, “Hey, I’ll just tell them my mom smokes. How cool can it be?”
My friend Kimberly announced that she had started a diet to lose some pounds she had put on recently.
“Good!” I exclaimed. “I’m ready to start a diet too. We can be dieting buddies and help each other out. When I feel the urge to drive out and get a burger and fries, I’ll call you first.”
“Great!” she replied. “I’ll ride with you.”