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Know When To Fold ‘Em

March 6, 2017

There comes a time in every one’s life where they sometimes just have to admit they can’t do it all. My latest one of those moments came over the weekend. We are in the final stretch of Girl Scout Cookie season. I love doing cookies. It’s stressful, hectic, crazy, annoying and fun all at the same time.

I love seeing the girls grow and learn. I love seeing them figure out the math and make change for customers. I love seeing them grow and mature as they learn to interact with adults who often need to grow and mature themselves.

You see cookie season is not really about delicious thin mints or chocolate, coconut and caramel goodness. Cookie season is about learning. It’s about goal setting. It’s about honing business and marketing skills. It’s about making choices. Cookies teach the girls confidence. Cookies teach the girls about patience. Cookies teach the girls compassion.

cookie-mobile02One of the major tenents of cookie season is goal setting and striving to reach those goals. We talk a lot about realistic goals versus pie in the sky goals. Over the years, the conversation has gotten easier as the girls learn what is realistic and what it not. This year the girls set a combined goal of 1,300 boxes of cookies. Last year they sold a combined 1,355 boxes. We knew this year would be a little tougher because The Husband has been away for work for most of the cookie season. Without a second parent, we cannot divide and conquer as much as usual. So we knew numbers would be down a little bit but the girls were committed to pushing themselves to get what they wanted.

In addition to The Husband being gone, the Big One opted to go to church camp the first weekend of cookie sales. Again, a choice that she made knowing that if at the end we were not at their goals, the Little One got first choice of which incentives she received because she was doing the first big weekend alone.  Again, cookies have taught the girls valuable life lessons this time – making choices, setting priorities and accepting consequences.

As the cookie season rolled on, The Big One got terribly ill. We are still not certain what it was the hit her, but she was wiped out for about 10 days, including missing 5 days of school. (This is a kid who did not miss five days of school total through Kindergarten – 5th grade!) It was a nasty bug.  The Big One clearly does not get sick often, but when she does, boy howdy she does it good. Knowing this, her pediatrician immediately started her on Cleocin, which is the nastiest antibiotic known to man. In case you missed our last time on Cleocin, you can read about that joy here.

That illness put a huge damper on sales because The Husband was out of town so we were homebound for the better part of two weeks. We finally got The Big One’s illness cleared up. The Husband came home and we were rolling again. The Big One is old enough to participate in booth sales alone with just one adult so we divided and conquered for one weekend of sales. There was a glimmer of hope we’d get to their goal.

Then last week The Little one got bands put on in preparation for braces. I know everyone is different and their experiences are different. Well, the Little One, my tough one, was knocked on her butt with these darn bands. She developed nasty canker sores where they are rubbing on her cheeks. And to top it all off, she picked up a nasty bug herself. {I finally took her to urgent care last night and she’s got a sinus infection. So here we go again with antibiotics in this house.}

The Little One, she’s a trooper and despite feeling miserable, she agreed to stay home alone for a couple hours over the weekend while the Big One and I tried to sell some cookies. On Saturday we were rolling along at a great pace selling cookie after cookie and then the bloody nose hit. Yes, the Big One got a bloody nose in the middle of an extremely successful booth sale. We do not leave booth sales early. They are highly coveted spots, especially this late in the season, but there was nothing we could do. Her nose was not cooperating.

So as we got everything loaded into the car, I admit I lost it. I cried the entire way home because I knew the goal was unattainable and I felt like I had let my girls down. How silly is that? Number one, we are talking cookies here not the cure for cancer. Number two, illness, travel for work, bloody noses are all part of life and nothing that I, or anyone else, can control. So why on earth did I feel so responsible for the success of cookie season?

As we got home and talked a little bit more about cookies and goals, we also learned more about negotiating and fairness. The Big One has argued that while yes, the Little One took on the first weekend by herself, she had now taken on this past weekend by herself. She did three booth sales alone while the Little One was sick on the couch. She made some excellent points.

allison-otm02Now as the mom and Chief Referee, I have some tough decisions to make. But again, we are all learning lots of great life lessons this cookie season. So while some of you, and many random strangers, are annoyed with the abundance of cookie sellers that are seemingly everywhere, please remember that it’s really not about peanut butter and chocolate goodness or deliciously tart lemon and powdered sugar confections, it’s really a season about life. We are doing our best to raise responsible, caring, smart, feisty, opinionated, confident people. We are not just peddling over-priced, sugar-filled treats. We are trying our best to teach the girls how to be successful adults.

We appreciate each and every one of you for your role in our cookie season. We love those of you who buy cookie after cookie after cookie. We love those of you who donate to Operation Thin Mint (our program of collecting cash donations in order to purchase and send cookies to deployed troops). And yes, we love those of you who do not buy cookies or make donations. We need all of you to help us to grow and learn.

We’ve got six days left of this madness. Heaven help us to survive it all as we push on. We will most likely not hit their cookie goal, but I hope that the life lessons will be enough. Those lessons will certainly last longer than most of the incentives the girls will receive for their efforts.

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