Presidents of us.

We were talking about what it means to be the President, what they do, what qualities they should have and what the kids would do if they were the President of the hands-down best, but still beautifully and tragically flawed like a legendary warrior or any of the lead characters in Twilight, country on the planet.

Here are my notes. These kids have some good ideas.
P (almost 7), S (5) and R (almost 3).

P: Presidents should be old, because you have to live a long time to know the right thing to do sometimes.  When you’re little, you might know but it’s better to be old. Mama, I can’t wait to be old, but I don’t want you to die. I’m going to be a mother of one [holding up one finger for emphasis] baby when I’m old.  But I want you still to be here.  You’ll be here, right? [This kid dips my heart in gooey sweet caramel every day and takes a giant bite, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.]

S: America is the best country on Earth, but there might be another good country on Pluto which is now a planet again because it [holding up one finger and demonstrating that she listens to her teachers far better than she listens to her parents] is round, [now, two fingers] orbits the sun and [three fingers and a bent pinky at 90 degrees] moves in its own circle [balled up hands circling her face as if she is the sun, which she kind of is to me…when she’s not whining].  They thought Pluto was NOT a planet, but they took a closer look [closing her left eye and looking through a pretend magnifying glass with her right] and, whaddya know, it is a planet.  Um.  Um.  What was the question again?

R: Um. Scooze me. I need food. I soo hungry. [What he lacks in diction and verbs, he makes up for in adorable politeness.]

P: Presidents make rules, right? They should be smart so they make the right rules. If I were the President I would not let people use dangerous machines. [This is a reference to my day job, and a story for another time.] I would also say you cannot cut down anymore trees because if you cut down all the trees, the dangerous animals [I think she meant endangered, but who am I to say?] will have no place to live and it will be a really crazy bad idea because we need trees to breathe. [Man, how I love this kid.]

S: Yes, there are no trees on the moon which is why we can’t breathe on the moon.  Also, wait.  Um.  I remember what I was going to say.  The President should be big like Daddy.

R: I’m big.

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These kids are gonna thank us someday.

My kid so desperately needs a haircut. He looks like a yeti, from the ears up. The rest of him is thankfully fur free. But looking at him and his porcupine mop-top this morning, with his array of half-eaten breakfast choices spread before him, I thought, Hey, despite the hair, he’s damn lucky.

His appearance leaves something to be desired at the moment (namely a pair of gardening shears), but he’s got a lot of stuff that so many other kids lack. And I may not be the perfect parent.  I may or may not have dropped him when he was 6 weeks old on to a hardwood floor (the ER nurse was incredibly kind at 3 am, “don’t worry, ma’am, it happens all the time”). And I may or may not have whispered to him, at 13 months after he finally fell asleep following 3 straight hours of rocking (physically and lyrically–after exhausting my meager catalog of lullabies I was singing my own renditions of the best rock songs of the 60’s), that he was going to drive me quack-sh*t, ducking crazy someday–only I may or may not have whispered the bald-faced curse words rather than the PG version.  I think about this little not-quite Mommy Dearest moment often and hope that his subconscious failed to absorb the exhausted menace in my words.

But the truth is he’s got a mom that would do anything in her power to keep him safe, and happy, and fully stocked in the breakfast pastry category.  So, I’ve decided to let go of the kiddie-coiffure failure and my many other parenting transgressions of the past 7 years.

I have another kid who has resorted to keeping her own calendar.  I shared this fact with a colleague in the elevator yesterday as we were both scrambling to make the clumsy transition from litigator to super mom at the end of a harried work day. Continue reading

Blurry is good.

[So, I wrote this a few weeks ago…but couldn’t push publish at the time.  Sometimes I feel like I write too much about the ache of missing my mom.  It’s not unique.  I’m not unique.  That kind of loss is something that we all will experience, or already have. Still, I figure that if the point of this whole exercise is to create a record of these moments and stories in a format that my kids are more likely to find someday than the tangible and scattered pieces of my own mother’s story that I find tucked away every now and again in old suitcases, journals and book jackets, then I should just put it out there.  This is for them.  The three people I want most to know her and me–even long after I am gone.

And I want them to know that my sister and I were lucky to have one of the great ones, and lucky to have her as long as we did.]

***

This morning he was screaming and banging the kitchen floor, like a life-size Joe Pesci in [insert the name of any mob movie here], because he wanted the salt shaker.

“Salt! Salt! I want dat salt!”

Arms flailing, feet stomping, red-faced and tear-streaked. I finally put some on his hand and he licked it.

“Yuck, dat’s disgusting. You not nice, mama.”

I kissed him anyway and he ran off to wreak mini-gangster havoc somewhere else, no longer interested in the shaker.

Continue reading