Design by Sawyer Pennington


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Mixed. I'm scared because of everything that's happening in the Capitol right now. I'm excited because no matter the political party, it's incredible that we'll have a woman Vice President and what that means for all the girls in this country. And I'm thrilled that my daughters will see that. I'm full of pride because it shows that in America democracy is bigger than any one person or group. Finally, as someone that loves history, it does sadden me that it won't be a traditional inauguration, filled with traditions and peaceful transfer of power but I suspect that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are more focused on what they're going to do once inaugurated.


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Having an elaborate wedding does not mean you will have a successful marriage, any more so than eloping means your marriage will fail. The real work starts after the ceremony, and is a function of your commitment to uphold the solemn promises made during the ceremony. This inauguration will go down in history for many reasons and the fact its theme is "America United" is both heartbreaking and inspirational. But, as Americans, it is our responsibility to do everything within our power to help heal the country and work toward finding common ground so we can come together.
Design by Sawyer Pennington


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Initially, by watching my youngest daughter, although 18, acting like a little kid again. She couldn't wait to go out in the snow (although I told her it was more like icy sleet with an inch or two of dusty snow on top) and take photos (for social media, of course). And build what I think was the world's smallest (and cutest) snowman. Her pure joy and excitement made me realize how important it is to see the best in any given situation. (At that point, we still had power although it was heartbreaking to see how many people were already without power, and I knew we might be next.)

The next day, in the middle of the night, we joined the growing number of people (millions!) without power. And although we had done our best to prepare for this possibility, it's still a shock, especially when temperatures are well below freezing. But the funny thing is when I now look back, I don't remember the difficult parts. I remember sitting around a table, dressed as if we were Bernie Sanders at the inauguration, initially playing Trouble and then what became a game of Monopoly that lasted days. (I didn't mention it to Black, figuring I'd get a business analysis of board games.)

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I live in a Houston high-rise that whenever the wind blows, we seem to lose power. So, I was not surprised to find we had lost power at 2 a.m. Monday morning, but I was shocked to see all the snow. And, although I briefly enjoyed the beauty and peacefulness of the blanket of white, knew the fact my condo has huge windows (and no window coverings) meant the temperature would start dropping very quickly. There is a hotel down the street and I was able to get a room, so I counted my blessings. Not because I was able to get a room (by lunchtime, there were none left), but because I had the luxury of being able to escape to a hotel when I knew most people were not as fortunate and had limited, if any, other options.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington


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Obviously, this should be directed to Red. But, if my sister asked me this question, my response to her would be … You either let Sawyer play volleyball and take all possible precautions. Or, she does not play. However, why not sit down and have a conversation with her and listen (which is different from hearing) her thoughts before you even voice your own. You love lists. Maybe each of you should independently list all the pros and cons of each decision (play/do not play) and then compare them.


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First, I can totally sympathize with your concerns because "been there, doing that". As Black indicated, my youngest daughter, Sawyer, plays competitive volleyball and would be distraught if she couldn't play, especially as she's a high school senior and this is her last year for both school and club ball. This was one of those times, though, when I tried to put all my emotions aside and do my best impersonation of my sister. In other words, be very logical and pragmatic and weigh the risk/reward, which had to include my daughter's emotional well-being. (Not mine!) The bottom-line is we discussed, and she agreed to, very strict protocols (such as having to wear a mask in our house all the time, no exceptions) because she fully understands all the risks. Not just for her but everyone around her.
Design by Sawyer Pennington


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I feel like I should just turn this over to Black since I'm a mom to two daughters and they'd agree with your daughter in terms of moms and nagging. But how about some advice from my younger daughter?! She's told me, on more than one occasion, that it would be better if I didn't feel the need to say something over and over again, that instead of nagging her, say it once maybe twice, then wait a while and see if she needs another reminder. Or maybe even ask her when to remind her. Which is great advice! But I have to tell you, as a mom, that's so hard to actually do, although it does work.


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As Red knows, I prefer to ask questions than to give answers. My question for you is, "Would you be more inclined to do something if you were told to or because you were motivated to?"

For example, you could "nag" and say, "You keep telling me you are going to find a job, but you do not even fill out the applications." Or, you could ask a useful question, "I know you want to find a job. What ideas do you have as to how to accomplish that?"

It is the difference between nagging and asking questions. When someone wants to do something, it is more likely to happen. But do not believe me … it is actually a proven technique, called Motivational Interviewing, and it works – even for mothers and daughters.