A Simple Question

“I’m working on writing a speech and this book I’m reading recommends asking the people close to you a question. Can you tell me what I’ve taught you?”

It was a risky question, especially to ask to my daughters. But it resulted in such an interesting conversation with my husband Robert that I decided to go for it. I sought out a quiet moment alone with each of them.


I was hoping they would at least participate, maybe even come up with something like – always try to make it to the toilet if you think you’re going to barf or how to separate a yolk from an egg white. But their answers blew me away and made me a little weepy.

(Before you think I’m just tooting my own horn, I want to present Exhibit A and Exhibit B as reminders of my public parental failures. And if you read my upcoming memoir Float On, you’ll have more opportunities to discover my past failings.)

The daughter who I thought wouldn’t play along at all thought about it for a bit and said, “To treat others how I want to be treated.” The other daughter was more expansive, “Literally everything…manners, how to socialize…” Then she stopped and said, “Last year we had the word altruistic as a vocabulary word and I remembered it by thinking of you. That’s how you are.”

I felt like getting my timecard and clocking off – my work here is done! It’s not, of course, but I will cling to these thoughts because parenting teenagers is hard. I know that I will need to remind myself that something is sticking when I encounter the attitude, the evasiveness, the other things that I won’t even mention.

This question also causes me to think about what others have taught me and what a beautiful thing it can be to share with someone. So I want to tell you readers that you have taught me that being deliberate to share my words with you brings me connection and joy. Thank you.

Love, Molly




4 Comments Add yours

  1. You have taught me that it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, I can count on you to be with me in front of a mirror, facing my fears…while dancing with a wooden spoon.

  2. mbergkamp says:

    You taught me to not be shy when going into the Dutch Goose, 5 minutes before closing, and assertively asking for a bag of peanuts . . . to go. Honestly, I think about that a lot, whenever I may be too scared or too timid to ask for something, afraid that I may inconvenience someone. “Seesa, just go up there and tell them . . . Be strong, girl!”

    1. Molly says:

      I love that! And you are strong, love you…

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