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Surrendering to Motherhood

Jennifer Huffman's Surrendering to Motherhood: Off limits

From the Surrendering to Motherhood: Tales from a Napa Valley mom series
Jennifer Huffman

Jennifer Huffman is a business editor, reporter and columnist at the Napa Valley Register.

When I meet readers of this column, they often mention the Huffman daughters.

What are the girls up to? they’ll ask.

My go-to line is “everyone is happy so far today,” and then knock on the closest available surface.

It’s a joke, but not really. We parents should never pass up a moment to wish for any scrap of good luck when it comes to our kids. We’ll cling to anything we can.

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a Huffman daughter update. But there’s a reason for that. The three Huffman Daughters are notoriously picky about what I do and do not include in this column.

I’ve been informed that certain topics are STRICTLY OFF LIMITS, i.e., boyfriends, breakups, sister drama, and significant bumps in the road. In other words, all the good stuff.

I must tread delicately, like a hungry mouse tip-toeing around a delicious hunk of cheese in a trap. 

I’ll try to get away with as much as I can, but Huffman Daughters if you are reading this, feel free to stop now — there’s a great crossword puzzle on page C6. Or try the Jumble.

Middle Daughter is now working two jobs and taking classes at Sonoma State. She works a day job at a Carneros winery and then weekend nights at a downtown bar. (Notice how I’m easing into the territory with a humble brag… clever, no?)

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I admire her work ethic. Badass, if you ask me. Plus, she’s always got cash. Napa Valley visitors are happy to be here, especially after COVID, and they are happy to spread the love, i.e. tip. Keep on tipping, visitors! Momma is happy when daughters have their own money!

She rents a room in a house in Napa, but still visits our house fairly regularly, usually bringing take-out food and homework. After announcing herself i.e., “The Fun Has Arrived!” and then roughhousing with Penny the dog, she leaves a trail of dog toys, food wrappers, dishes, and Amazon package envelopes in her wake. Gotta love that kid, even her messes.

Oldest Daughter and Fiancé are taking notes for wedding plans. They recently flew to Denver for a wedding that included photo ops with two donkeys. Wearing top hats. The donkeys, I mean. 

We want animals at our wedding, said our girl. Larry and Lenny the (alleged) hedgehogs may be part of the event. And couldn’t Lemon the Cat be included?

When are they getting married? Answer: They haven’t decided yet. They want to pick the venue first. There’s talk of a redwood forest. Or something with vineyard views. Or under some oak trees? Whatever you want, we say, which is not like me at all.

In fact, for such a momentous life event, I’m feeling suspiciously relaxed. Maybe because I know that it really is all up to them. This is one thing I really can let go. Woah. Pause to appreciate that moment of self-actualization. That feels pretty good.

And to be honest, the longer the engagement, the longer we get to save more $$$ for the wedding. Take your time, you two.

Youngest Daughter is back at college in Portland. I tried to talk her into coming home for a weekend (We’ll pay for your flight! Free food once you get here! Mom-sponsored Target shopping trip!) but alas, she’s “too busy” with her senior year classes and homework. Methinks it also might be something to do with a new boyfriend. (Yes, I am entering the Danger Zone here.)

I could say I have met New Boyfriend and he’s a really sweet guy. He’s got a good job and is studying for his master’s degree and has been known to root for the Giants. But that’s as far as I should go.

The rest is completely off-limits.

These second graders at Willow Magnet School are putting on a show — with puppets. But it's not all fun and games. They're learning both how to create art and to work together as a team. Check it out.

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Surrendering to Motherhood appears every other Monday. Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @NVRHuffman.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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