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Suburban Island

Tick Tock
Monday, Sept. 13, 2004, 11:41 p.m.

Question: A present for me?

What I learned: I am often pleasantly surprised.

Strange but true - the same kids who can't clean up, make you repeat yourself 10 times a day, and have the strange idea that God has provided them with a perpetual servant - you - also are capable of exceptional sweetness and thoughtfulness.

For instance, early last week my kids went shopping together to pick out some school clothes for my son. I appreciated this because it actually helped me out even though it did cost me money at the same time. Big sisters donít consult on little brotherís school clothing purchases for free you know. Of course, my daughter exacted a finderís fee Ė some clothes of her own for the college scene. This is still much better than the classic school clothes-shopping scenario in which I stagger battle-weary and indigent from the local mall laden with bags full of goodies for everyone of school age in the household.

This time, on top of bags of stuff for themselves, the kids had a little bag for me. Inside it was a present Ė a Sunshine Buddy. My Sunshine Buddy is a little blue creature with a big smile on its face sitting on a patch of plastic green. This plastic pal plopped down on plastic grass perpetually tilts its head back and forth due to the magic of solar power and happy thoughts. It's cute as cute can be and very entertaining too in an office desk accessory sort of way. I certainly appreciate anything that livens up my desk and makes me smile inanely every time I look at it. I give extra points for something that is actually smiling itself like my new little blue buddy.

Thatís not all. This past Friday afternoon my daughter brought me home a beaded lanyard for my work badge. I couldnít wait to show it off at the office. I knew all the kids were going to want one just like it. I'm going to feel like a lanyard-wearing princess every time I slip this beaded baby over my head and set off to another day at work. Career accessories can never be too glamorous as my thoughtful daughter has kindly reminded me with her carefully selected gift for the working mom who desires pizzazz and a little sparkle too.

Perhaps best of all, with the outlay of only $19.99, I have provided my son with the tool to free me from the chore of awakening him for school each morning. He has shouldered this task dutifully and this morning he utilized his new instant weather alarm clock with AM/FM radio, buzzer alarm feature, and NOAA regional weather forecast, with battery backup, to get up without any extensive maternal assistance. A few minutes of sleep is a great gift indeed to the average mother.

Batteries not included.

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