Next Step Therapy Blog: ‘The Abominable Snowman’

Tracy 1Tracy Cowles, CEO and owner of Next Step Therapy, submitted the following article: “The Abominable Snowman”

When my oldest, Noah, was in 6th grade, I received a note from the teacher that his class would be doing a Christmas play. My son needed an Abominable Snowman costume. At the time, I was working two jobs, had two kids, did the vast majority of housekeeping tasks, was PTO president, helped out with a boy scout troop, and took Noah to ball practices. If there was such a thing as Pinterest, I did not give a crap, and was not a member.

I got online, found an abominable snowman suit and ordered it. $98.99. When it came in, and Noah took it to school, his teacher called me. “Ms. Cowles, I never intended for you to BUY a costume for Noah. You were supposed to make it!” I laughed. Hard. Belly laugh. Folks, I have many God given talents, in the areas of caregiving, business, music, and friendship. I have none when it comes to arts and crafts. None.

I told her to enjoy the professional costume and not worry about it. The play was a hit; my kid was way more comfortable in a full body costume up on stage; all was good.

It is seven years later. That teacher decided to do the same play again two years later, and asked to borrow the costume.

“Franklin on Ice” needed the costume at the library. The “Snowman” has appeared in the “frenzy” student section of Franklin High School Basketball games. Both of my kids wore it for Halloween three times each. Every time, it reeks of boy sweat, and I throw it in the washing machine. Every time, it comes out pristine, looking brand new. As compared to a cheaply made plastic costume from a box store that a kid wears once and then throws away because it fell apart, Abominable turned out to be a great investment.

I know that there were people who thought I was quite the smart aleck for buying my kid a costume – “throwing my money at it.” That was not my intent at all. I was given an assignment, I didn’t have time or talent to deal with it, so I solved the problem the best and most efficient way I knew how.

The point of this blog is this: Some of us are mechanical, some are artistic, some are caregivers. Some of us bake, some of us organize, some of us lead. Some of us are good listeners, some are musicians. NONE of us are all of the above. That’s the way it is supposed to be. Anyone who can do everything perfectly is bound to make other people jealous and have a hard time making friends.

I don’t do arts and crafts. I don’t sew. I don’t garden. If I bake, it is directly out of a box – not from scratch. I do, however, cook fairly well. I do write.

I’m grateful for the things that I can do, and don’t have a whole lot of angst over the things I can’t do – mostly because I know that in my circle, there is someone that can. Enjoy your gifts, but please stop creating anxiety for yourself over things you don’t do so well.

It’s okay to buy the cupcakes instead of baking them.

It’s okay to play a board game with your kid instead of doing arts and crafts.

The beauty of you is that you are unique!

My kids are no worse off for having a mom that doesn’t bake or sew costumes. What my kids did get from me is a love of music. I have a 45 record collection.

Thousands of them.

When they were little, I would put on records and we would have “dance parties” in the living room. Thanks to that, both kids love Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and know that CCR stands for Credence Clearwater Revival. One plays saxophone, and one plays drums and other percussion instruments.

I think, when we are trying to raise kids to be confident and like themselves, that it is good for them to hear their parents honestly point out their strengths and weaknesses. So, many, many times my kids heard things like, “Nope, I’m not going to make that. I’m going to order that. There, done in five minutes. Now, let me introduce you to Carlos Santana, and a dance called the “Salsa!”

Believe me, my boys are no worse off.


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