We were driving home from Newmarket, after a semi-satisfying lunch at Costco, (for the kids, I behaved and stuck to sipping my Diet Pepsi and pretended not to be hungry) and as usual, we listened to the radio during the drive. “An Angel in Blue Jeans” by Train came on. The kids were listening to the music, talking to each other, singing along, picking their noses, covertly poking each other in the eye – you know, all the usual stuff kids do when you’re powerless to stop them because you’re stuck driving the car. Anyway, all of a sudden, Mason bursts out:
“Miranda! Miranda! Did you hear that? Did you hear what the song said?”
“Nooooo. What’d it say?”
“It said ‘Life is but a dream, I was shot down by Olaf, my angel in blue jeans.’ ”
“Whaaaaat?!?” Miranda says in horror.
*I die laughing, but somehow don’t ditch the van in the process*
“No, guys, it’s ‘I was shot down by your love‘ not ‘shot down by Olaf!” I had to tell them. Because letting Miranda believe that Olaf was a) shooting people and b) an angel in blue jeans just seemed wrong beyond reason. Mas is still skeptical that I am right about the lyrics, but out of his love for his sister and her love for Olaf, he isn’t pushing it. Thanks God. (Also, I should add, that Miranda pronounces ‘Olaf” as ‘O-Love’ which makes me smile every time she utters his name).
“I know what your favourite thing is Mummy.”
“What’s that, hon?”
“US! Your favourite thing is us.”
*Heart fills with happiness and explodes. Heart too happy.*
As the kids were heading outside to play, two JW’s came walking up our porch.
“MUMMY! People are here!”
“I dunno. People!” (I know, this makes us sound like a remote mountain family, but I promise you, my kids are used to seeing people, almost everyday, in fact).
I open the door, still clad in my classy polar fleece jammie pants and over-sized beat-up house sweater, as two J.W.’s are approaching, literature in hand.
Smiling sweetly (I think) “Oh! Hello.” Then, noticing the literature in the first woman’s hand, I quickly add “Oh, no thank you!”
Looking confused while their eyes take in my homeless housewife-chic attire, one of them says “It’s only an invitation.” (‘because clearly you are in desperate need of help and saving, if not for you, then think of these poor misguided children!’ – This bit remained unspoken and was conveyed in the look of disbelief in their eyes)
“Oh, we’ve had those before. We don’t go. But thank you so much again!” Closing the door slowly as they started to turn and leave.
Mason: “Oh, sure Mom, like you really meant that!”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Mason turns on the falsetto and big smile ” ‘Oh, thank you so much! No thank you!’ Yeah, you didn’t mean that at all, did you?”
Busted again. Oh well. I’m sure the J.W.’s will return and I’ll have another chance to try to decline indoctrination and being saved with more sincerity next time.
Deacon: “Pineapple, coconut, BIG BANANA!” At the breakfast table while doing a dance indicating which body part is which. I’ll leave that with your and your imagination to sort out. Me? I just tried to pretend that I did not just hear and see my eight-year-old gyrating and gesturing thusly. Focus on his beautiful smile, I told myself. That didn’t really work, no. I’m still traumatized.
Paxton informed me that he was “practicing kindness” today and that he hoped that he didn’t forget to be good while we were out and about this afternoon. He didn’t forget to be good. He did a great job listening and cooperating. Driving home though, he grabbed a book out of his sister’s hand. She objected. LOUDLY. She was not letting him get away with it. I thought I would help, honestly more to stop the yelling than anything else, but whatever my motivation, I was trying to help.
“Pax, remember you told me that you were practicing kindness today?”
“Oh yeah. I forgot.”
“Well, was it kind to grab that book out of your sister’s hand?”
“It sounds like she’s pretty upset.”
“So, do you think that maybe you should give it back to her and apologize? Would that be the kind thing to do?”
“I guess so. Here you go, Miranda. So-rry.”
“That’s okay, Paxton. Hey, when we get home, you wanna play spies?”
So, just moments before, Ms. M was screaming and yelling at hearing-damage-gonna-happen volumes because her brother took a book (well, really a free pamphlet about outdoor accessories from Lowes) out of her hand without asking. And so I intervened and did the calm and guiding parent thing and lead Pax to do the right thing, and she’s already over it before he finished saying ‘sorry’? It is times like that when I wonder if I should just let them figure it out on their own. But then I remember the very real feeling of wanting to rip my own ears off to stop the pain of being trapped in a vehicle listening to them bicker, yell, whine and cry, over essentially, nothing, and decide no. Left to their own devices, they will keep that fight alive ALL DAY LONG. It is only when they drag Mom into it that the fight loses all of its shiny new-car appeal. So, by jumping into the middle of these seemingly meaningless arguments I am assuring my own sanity and survival. It’s just like wrestling a crocodile, only different.