A Tribute to the Triad

I went out for brunch today with my oldest weedling. Not surprising, since we do it at least twice  a month. At some point, over pimento cheese with bacon jam, biscuits and gravy, and some killer grits, she confesses that she loves when i write about her on my blog. (She also said she wished i hadn’t written about the teabag incident but i can’t help it… It still makes me laugh even now.) My son has also confessed to loving when he is featured here. My middle weedling, well, my guess is she tolerates my blog like she tolerates my impromptu dancing in the supermarket aisle. But since she is outnumbered, i decided today to feature them all… In a rendition of my favorite, “Yup, they’re my kids!” moments.

Mind you, they are my children, so they occasionally say or do things that can’t really be explained. They were never “typical” kids. And they can sometimes be a wee bit inappropriate. Go figure.

I hope i don’t end up in a rat infested nursing home because of this.

*****

Oldest weedling is now a manager and designer at a flower shopppe. She is creative, intelligent, and responsible. And she always was…. Tho every now and then, her inventiveness ran far ahead of her intelligence and… BAM! Momma Hol moment.

Such as it was nearly two decades ago. My husband at the time and i were living in Central America, and i was very pregnant with my middle child. Oldest daughter was outside playing while i put my feet up for a bit. I watched her go collect the coconuts that had fallen in the driveway. She peeled off what was left of the bark/peel, arranged them and rearranged them in different patterns (I never thought about it til just now, but she used to do that a lot. A prelude to her career choice maybe?) Anyway, when she finally gets them as she wants them, i see her lean back and scrutinize. There is one that is larger than the others and just doesn’t fit. She picks it up and eyes it carefully. She weighs it in her hand. I see the idea come together. She throws it hard to the ground.  Bang! It bounces and rolls to the grass. She picks it up and does it again even harder. BANG! It bounces, but doesn’t break. She disappears to the garage and comes back with a hammer. Thwack! She hits it and it skitters off sideways. She wedges it between the sidewalk and a rock. THWACK! She puts the hammer down and picks up the coconut. Still whole. I see her examining it closely, looking for a crack, her body slumping a little when she doesn’t find one.

The next part, i promise you, it wasn’t my fault.

I see her take a thoughtful pose while she ponders the problem. I see the glint in her eye when she gets the idea. In the house, i am shaking my head. “Nope, bad idea, you goofball.” I know she can’t hear me, but i am thinking she surely will dismiss the notion… After all, she’s an incredibly gifted kid. But her curiosity got the best of her. As soon as i realized it, i jumped up to stop her, but it was too late… She extended her arm and slammed the thing against her head. KONK! Her feet come from underneath her, her body horizontal, and i swear i saw birds and stars circling around her noggin as she hit the ground. I’m waddling out to check on her as she rolls over to where the coconut has landed. It is still undamaged.

“Crap, ” She says. “Good thing i didn’t really want it anyway.”

*****

My son is Nathan Lane’s logical heir. He is intelligent and dramatic in a way that belies his age, but probably not his upbringing.

I’m at work one afternoon and i get a call from my son’s pre-school teacher. He’s a paisano from  my native area, long since transplanted to our adopted southern home,  and my weedlings and i adore him. But today he is obviously trying to sound serious as he tells me i need to come down and collect my son. He is fine, teacher/friend assures me, but i need to come down. So i finish what i am working on, explain to my boss what is going on, and head down to the in-house daycare. All the toddlers are outside playing, except for my son, who is sitting by the wall with a grumpy look on his face.

“We had a little problem today, ” Teacher says, “And we used a bad word…” His face cracks, he runs crazy fast back inside, out of earshot of the kids, and starts to laugh.  “Oh my God, it was the funniest thing i’ve ever seen! He totally nailed it!” Apparently, the kids had all been gathered around the long tables with legos and such, engaged in that kind of creative play that is supposed to make them better thinkers. As my son is building, he looks up to see that another boy is looking back. My son gives him a quizzical look, but goes back to his building. Next time he looks up, the classmate is starting at him again. My son appears mildly annoyed. The same thing happens a few more times, with my son getting a little more rattled each time until….

He’s had enough. One last time, my son looks up to see the same kid still eyeing him. Teacher hears the expulsion of air that comes before an exclamation of exasperation, but before he can intercede, my son makes an authentic Italian hand gesture and, with a perfect Italian-American accent,  shouts, ‘What the hell are you looking at??!!??”

Oops.

Yup. Definitely my kid.

*****

Now, to the weedling that hates being the subject of my stories. And she knows which story i’m going to tell. But the fact of the matter is, knowing that she is now in college at a military academy, this scenario makes perfect sense. And not for nothing, it shows that, although my weedlings are far from perfect, their hearts and souls and characters are strong and good, as this honestly could be an account from any of mine.

All three of my weedlings are good kids and generally don’t make trouble, but the middle one has always been especially upright. With the exception of her intent to someday serve in politics, her actions have always been pure and brave and level-headed. So it was a surprise when i got a call from her principal.

I drove down and was escorted to the office by a teacher who seemed uncomfortable with me having to come in, my daughter being a gifted student and the smallest kid in the 3rd grade. But there she was, slumped down in a chair, hands crossed across her chest, indignant look on her face. The principal’s mouth was hidden by her hand as she asked me to have a seat and told my daughter to explain what happened.

“Ma, you know i told you about Dillon?” Dillon was a boy with Down Syndrome who was in her grade. I nod yes.

“Well, we were out at recess, and Austin kept calling him ‘retard’. I told him to stop being so mean, but he just laughed and called him ‘retard’ again. So i got really mad…”

“And…?” I ask.

She blows out a big breath and says, “I told him if he called him ‘retard’ one more time, i was gonna kick his ass.” Principal makes a sound that sounds like a snort and looks down at her desk.

“And…?” I ask, knowing that there must be more to the story.

“He got in my face! IN MY FACE, MA! And he said, ‘He’s. A. Retard.'” She has tears in her eyes now, tho i can’t honestly say if they were from sadness, anger, or frustration. The principal had tears in her eyes, but it was becoming more evident that hers were more likely from repressed laughter.

“And…?”

“Well, then i HAD to! ”

“Had to what?”

A sigh of exasperation that i am not following her here… “Kick his ass, Ma! I said i was gonna, and then he did, so i HAD to kick his ass!”

I am stunned. “You hit him?”

“Yes, but he deserved it. He was being mean, and SOMEONE has to stick up for Dillon, and you always say that we’re supposed to do what’s right, and….” She’s upset now and losing her cool.

“Calm down,” Says the principal, “It will be ok. Go get your books and things.” When my daughter leaves the room she turns to me, her face now out in the open, and it has a big grin. “She really did kick his ass. I think she even broke his nose. School policy is that, if you hit another student, it is two days’ suspension.”

I nod my head. “I don’t advocate her hitting another student, but i understand why she did.”

Principal responds, “That boy is a bully, and nothing we have done has made a dent in it. But today he got beat up by the smallest girl in the school. We’ll see if that makes a difference. I don’t advocate hitting, either, but it speaks volumes that she would go to such lengths for another student.”

I can’t help but smile with pride.

“Oh, ” She says as i rise to leave, “I should also remind you that she can’t swear at school, even if it’s for a good cause.”

Well, even the best of Good Guys has his quirk.

***

So there you have it, my favorite funny / embarrassing  stories of my weedlings. Nope, they aren’t perfect. But they are smart and strong and independent… And i love how they make me smile.

 

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