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by blue cotton memory

Once upon a time, I had a day to myself.  It was a lovely day.  The sun was shining and the sky was blue. My thoughts ran freely through my brain – and, oh, what wonderful thoughts they were.  Then my heart swelled with love.  Thoughts of one brother biting the other faded into the background and all I saw was goodness.  Smiles.  Laughter.  Happiness. Like blue skies on a sunny day.

I stepped into a Fresh Market.  I love strolling through the Fresh Market with its baskets, flowers, cheeses, ready-made delightful dishes and assortment of candy.  They always have vintage holiday candy: Easter, Christmas, Valentines.  They had adorable dark chocolate, white chocolate and pink chocolate flower lollipops.  Flowers for my boys?  Not a chance.  Then I saw the JellyBelly Jelly Beans. What a wonderful Friday after-school snack that says, “I love you.  I was thinking of you today!”  So I bought 4 packages. 

There is something wonderful about owning your own little bag and not having to share with your brothers. I bought 3 packages of Sour Jelly Belly Jelly Beans and one Cold Stone Ice Cream Parlor Mix.  One of them turned up their nose at the Sours last time, so I sought to head off conflict.

Have you ever done that?  Sought to eliminanate potential conflict – kind of like taking allergy meds so you don’t get a sinus infection and feel miserable?

The first son in the car was given a choice: Sour or Cold Stone Ice Cream Parlor Mix.  He chose the latter.  Excitement oozed out his fingertips as he tore into the bag, snagged one and popped it in his mouth. The smile!  The sparkle!

So short-lived.

The Flavors of Choice

“EEEoooowwww.  I don’t like these.  Can I change?”

I only had 4 bags.  I had 4 sons (the 5th got married, graduated from college and got a job – he wasn’t in the school pick up rotation).

“You made a choice.  You have to live with it.”

“But I don’t like it.”

“Well, I’m sorry you don’t like it, but you are stuck with it.  That’s the way it is with choices. Once you commit yourself, there’s no turning back.”

“What about the other bags?”

“They belong to your brothers.  You had first choice.”

And so he sulked, just like Lola in Carl Norac’s book “I love You So Much.”  The illustrations of Lola sulking are so adorable that you just want to hug her furry little cheeks! My little guy sulked, but he just didn’t seem as cuddly and huggable as Nola.  However, his eyes – well, let’s just say that Claude Dubois must have been watching my son when he drew Nola in her sulks. 

Heading off conflict is not always successful. Sometimes I think it only creates greater frustration – after all the effort I put into conflict prevention, all I did was experience time waste and failure.

Dinner never appeals to all 5 boys. All 5 boys never want to go to the same restaurant.  All 5 boys’ joyous moments never coincide.

However, the life lesson coincided – a choice was made: a purchase choice by me(should have bought all Sours) and and a selection choice by my son.  The choices disappointed both of us.  You cannot take it back if you have already worn it, eaten it or read it. Next time, more care will be taken with these Jelly Belly Choices of life.

Who’d a thought a Jelly Belly had more substance than a carb? Or could create such chaos!

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