Learning to Let Lily Fail

I do not like letting Lily fail. And I was certain that she was going to fail when she wanted to bowl without the bumpers yesterday. I was positive that every single ball would be a gutter ball. But she insisted. That was the way she wanted to bowl.

When it was her turn, Lily toted her ball up the lane, placed in on the floor between her feet, and gave the ball a great HEAVE with both hands. Without even seeing if her ball would knock down any pins, she turned around and walked toward us, grinning.

Gutter ball.

Zero points.

On her second try, she heaved her bowling ball down the lane again.

Huge grin.

Gutter ball.

Zero points.

I realized that Lily has a different sense of failure than I do.

I’m a terrible bowler. We were bowling with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who are on a bowling league. Ed bowled a turkey in his first game: three strikes in a row. I can barely make it up to 70 points when bowling.

I’m a fairly competitive person. When I do something, I like to do it well. I may not be the best, or the winner, but I like to be pretty good at the things I attempt. I consider myself to be a failure at bowling.

But Lily has different guidelines about failing.

She was thrilled to be bowling. She was thrilled to be bowling with Mom and Dad and Sister, her aunt and uncle, without the bumpers. It didn’t matter to her that she wasn’t knocking any pins down.

She stepped up to the lane again.

Gutter ball, zero pins down.

On her second try, the ball stayed on the lane.

It didn’t go into the gutter.

Instead, her ball knocked down seven pins! We all jumped up and down, clapping our hands and cheering for Lily.

As we continued to play, Lily’s ball went into the gutter sometimes, but she also managed to knock down some more pins.

Even if she hadn’t knocked down any more pins, I think she would have been happy.

And she wouldn’t have failed. Just giving herself that challenge of bowling without the bumpers made her successful.

Once again, I learned an important lesson from my daughter. That’s part of the joy of motherhood.

It was too dark to take pictures in the bowling alley, so here is one of her playing in the snow.

I just want you to like me. Lemon Drop Pie is now on Facebook. Go on, “LIKE” me!


The girls and I invented a new game while I was baking Christmas cookies this week. Telephone! Wait, you say, that isn’t new! Oh, yes, it is! Here’s how you play: Get your Fancy Nancy telephone. If you don’t have one, you’re going to want to go out and get one, or decorate an old phone with ribbons, flowers, and anything pink. Take a notepad and a crayon. Pretend to answer the phone for Mommy and take a message. This game may also be known as Secretary! Administrative Assistant!

From the picture above, you can tell Emmy’s had a cold this week. She was banned from the cookie-making process after she sneezed on all the chocolate chips I put into her little bowl. She didn’t mind; instead of putting the chocolate in the cookies, she got to eat the chips instead!

Here is the recipe for one of our favorite cookies at Christmastime:

Ruby Sparklers

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted regular flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
semi-sweet chocolate chips
colored sugar (I used red and green–ooo, Christmasy! To make colored sugar, I pour a small amount of sugar into a bowl and mix with a few drops of food coloring.)

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Sift flour and salt; set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and almond extract. Stir in flour mixture a third at a time.

Press dough (about a teaspoon) around three chocolate chips to make a small ball. Roll in colored sugar. Place one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes. Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

And there you have it. A new game, PLUS a cookie recipe.

Happy baking!