It was another one of those crazy afternoons. Backpacks were strewn across the kitchen floor with spelling lists, broken pencils and math quizzes littering the kitchen table. We were in a rush to finish homework before Dad got home to take the boys to sports practice. By the time they left, the house looked like a tornado blew through and had left an eerie silence in its wake. Cricket was still studying in the other room and I was left with my thoughts while making dinner in the kitchen. Cricket caught my attention when she sauntered in, grabbed her dinner plate and headed toward the table. Spying the warm fireplace burning in the living room, I directed her down toward the carpet in front of the hearth. Knowing our rules regarding food in the living room, the look in her eyes asked if I was crazy. I told her to pick a spot and then I sat down next to her. As we were settling in, she asked if she could get a glass of grape juice which I quickly shot down with a laugh. In the intimate setting (that couldn’t have been replicated at the boring table), I was able to hear more details about her day and how she skillfully handled the challenges of tween life. She asked me for advice on teachers and friendships, and then offered her own suggestions on solutions to lingering problems. There are many times when I want to savor those precious moments because I know she won’t want to spend her teen years talking to her mom. But with a little luck and a lot of love…just maybe she will.