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"For years and years of relatively smooth-sailing childhood, my kids followed my directives," writes Melinda Rainey Thompson. "If I said, 'Let's go swimming ' they fled down the hall to pull on their swimsuits, shedding their clothes along the way. If I said, 'So sorry, the mall is closed today, ' they didn't doubt my pronouncement for a moment - even if the parking lot was crammed."
And now that her kids are mostly grown?
"I was good with babies. Teenagers -not so much," Thompson admits. "I don't get many hugs anymore. Any I do get are inevitably instigated by me while they stand there like martyrs tied to a stake. Recently, when I was the rare recipient of a spontaneous hug from my seventeen-year-old, I got so excited I dropped the basket of chocolate-chip muffins in my hands. I was anxious to hug back while it was still on offer. It was totally worth the muffin loss."
Thompson's three teenagers bury her under an Everest of laundry. They send her for groceries.