Gracie (in upgraded wardrobe, holding upgraded phone) gets paid to go back to Fayetteville

Gracie (in upgraded wardrobe, holding upgraded phone) gets paid to go back to Fayetteville

A storm blew into Oklahoma this weekend. I’m not talking about the one that brought sub-zero temperatures and freezing rain. I’m talking about the one that brought my 19 year old College Freshman home.

To be fair, it’s not like we were caught totally off-guard. Gracie let us know Tuesday or Wednesday that she planned to arrive home early Friday evening. We were delighted to clear our calendars, as we hadn’t seen her in 2 whole weeks! (They change so fast at this age; you hardly want to turn your back on them for a minute, lest you miss a major milestone…) To be completely honest, she did actually change her major a few days earlier, so we had, in fact, missed a “Major” milestone. We had some catching up to do.

I guess our first mistake was not realizing the visit was AGENDA-cized. It was a Rookie mistake. I know what y’all are thinking: “They’re not ‘Rookies’ – Gracie is their 3rd child!” True enough, we HAVE already raised 2 fabulous daughters, but this is the first time we’ve raised “Up-Grade Me Grace.”

The convenient thing about being one of the younger children in a large family, is that you have been afforded the opportunity to observe and take note of what Jimmy and I refer to as your “BASE PACKAGE.” Your parents have been “broken in” and the “trails have been blazed,” so to speak, by your older siblings, the PIONEERS. From this vantage point, you have a pretty clear idea of what the folks are willing and/or able to do for their children. (For example – our younger children know, that as long as they meet minimal expectation requirements, we will pony up for a cell phone, 4 years at a State university, and finance one semester of study abroad.) As the 3rd child, Gracie has managed to devote the majority of her life (and all of the past weekend) to pursuing any and all possible upgrades to her standard base package…


We did not know this, but were quickly informed this weekend that the reason Gracie never answers our phone calls is because her phone is broken and doesn’t accept incoming calls. It does, however, function for Facebook, Instagram, texting and tells one Hell of a “Snap Chat Story.” When Jimmy suggested that her phone could be repaired and that she didn’t really NEED a new phone she pointed out to him that, “in the grand scheme of things,” he might only have 25 or so good years left, so” there was no point in hanging on to all those available AT&T upgrades…”


As she was packing up to leave Sunday morning, she walked into my closet and said,
“If you had to choose between your black studded J. Crew tee shirt or the grey studded one, which would you keep?”

As I began to ponder which color tee I preferred over the other, Jimmy caught wind of the conversation and inserted,

“The great thing is that Mom doesn’t have to choose – she can actually keep BOTH of her J. Crew tops!”

“Moooommm! Which one do you pick?”

As I visibly struggled with this decision, he observed, “This is like ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ the fashion edition”

She liberated the grey one…


It seems Gracie would prefer to study-abroad in Barcelona, Spain, rather than South America or Mexico, per her sisters’ options. In an effort to be uber-persuasive, she emphasized what a “glorious time” the 3 of us could have taking the train to Paris for the weekend when we come to visit her in Europe!! She appeared rather stunned and hurt when Jimmy informed her that his ideal weekend in Paris doesn’t include her.

Sunday morning brought a flurry of activity. When she woke up and saw there was inclement weather coming in, she spearheaded an impressive family effort to hasten her departure. In a frenzy, she started packing up everything that was hers, and several things that weren’t. She woke up all of her siblings and let them know we would be attending an earlier Mass than usual, as she needed to “get on the road” sooner than expected.

Looking out the window, she briskly explained, “There’s NO WAY I’m going to risk getting snowed-in here!!”

Smart girl! There was no point in hanging around, she knew she was already on “thin ice” in Oklahoma and had definitely exhausted every possible upgrade.