Not a ditz, Mom! No, really…

Another fall, another round of parent-teacher conferences done.

Like many parents, I imagine, I attend these conferences not for constructive criticism, but to spend time with my children’s teachers swapping stories about how brilliant and entertaining my children are.

Of course not every teacher feels the same, particularly at the junior high level. While I did enjoy hearing what a bright, responsible teenager we are raising, I was not encouraged to share stories of my own, especially those that might counter their perception.

Fortunately, I have this venue for such frivolity.

On the way to her younger sister’s recent volleyball game, our eighth-grade daughter was lamenting the way her parents treat her.

“You and Dad don’t give me enough credit,” she boldly stated in her opening argument. “You guys think I’m just a ditzy blonde, but I have a lot of common sense.”

I smiled, remembering the time she was 4 years old and sitting on my lap while I logged on to our computer. As soon as the AOL announcer piped, “You’ve got mail!” my little nonditzy blonde hopped off my lap and ran to the mailbox to check.

“True, honey,” I told her, not wanting to engage the future attorney in a debate about underappreciated intellect on the way to Kansas City. She will wear the fur off her opposing counsel someday.

Instead we listened to music until we arrived at the Prairie Village school to watch our middle daughter (who possesses way too much common sense to ever appear in this column) compete.

We spent the hour between matches outside on the school’s playground under the gorgeous fall sun. I was on one corner of the playground chatting with another mom while my nonditzy blonde was on the opposite corner chatting with a friend, when I saw her freeze, a serious look taking over her face.

She murmured to her friend and reached for her phone as she turned toward the parking lot entrance and studied the scene, which was completely out of my view.

“Mom?” she started, “MOM?!?!”

“What’s wrong?” I asked her from across the playground.

“A car just turned around in the parking lot!” she said, voice tight and high in her chest, “And on the side of the car it says ‘Bruce Smith DRUGS!’”

It took me a moment to realize she was mistaking this Kansas City pharmacy for a neighborhood crack dealer who preys upon school playgrounds on Saturday afternoons.

“It’s OK, it’s just a pharmacy delivering medicine somewhere. They probably got lost.” While I could have left it there, I did not. “Most drug dealers don’t advertise their business on their cars. Less risky that way.”

One of the things I love about her non-ditzy blond hair is the way it complements her cheeks when they flush.

She may not have her street smarts about her yet, but she is definitely armed with passion in the war against drugs. So for now, this prosecutor will rest.


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