You wonder throughout the course of your parenting, how much your influence and knowledge is being absorbed into your children’s minds and incorporated into who they are. They show us glimpses as they mature and grow up. For our daughters, we mothers really want them to be strong, opinionated, have the ability to take care of themselves and get the life they deserve (actually, we of course want that for our boys too, but the girls sometimes have to fight harder for it.) So for my daughter Sierra, who is graduating this spring from Temple University/Honors, I thought she deserved a great graduation present- and for a mother who “has a hard time staying home,” it needed to be a trip. I was thinking something like Paris- someplace the dad would not care to miss perhaps- but I am only being granted a few days so we will stay in country. But she read me the riot act when it came to making plans for our trip. She gave me an ultimatum. She knows I have been struggling to get my new book into a completed enough form to send it out to find a publisher and I have been allowing myself to be distracted, either with a walk or a trip to South Africa. So she says, “I will ALLOW you to take me on a graduation trip if you get 4 chapters of your book complete by the time May rolls around. One chapter a month for 4 months or no trip.” We shook on it. I told her she had my promise. Mom wants to make a memory with her daughter and celebrate in style. Wow! My friends say I created this “Monster” but I like to think of it as creating this “Queen.” As in the words of Marianne Williamson… “Every woman who is a queen simply knew she could be one and everyone else is still pretending she can’t. That’s all that separates the queens from the slave girls: a shift in consciousness from denial to acceptance of personal power.” Here’s to all our girls becoming queens – and 4 completed chapters on my new book so I can go on a trip!.