Our eldest is 6. She is opinionated. She is loud. She says inappropriate things at random to complete strangers. You never know when these gems will slip out. Parenting her currently is akin to following around the town drunk. I try to be ever vigilant; my verbal broom and dust pan sweeping up her spoken bombshells. I love her. It’s exhausting. How much will a perfectly adorable 6 year old fetch me on eBay?
We are a progressive family. Live and let live. Love and let love. Your business is your business. My business is my business and yours since I over share here on this blog. Enjoy my massive failures protecting the innocence of my family! In some respects, her verbal assaults make sense. No topic is really off the table in our home. So, she sees it as a running commentary on the documentary that is her life. I see it as When Animals Attack. At first, that lion is just sitting there and them, BAM, cut to the film crew having a bittersweet memorial for Best Boy Steve. Although Miss A tirelessly campaigns for the job, we have decided not to allow her to be the spokesperson for our family. Her platform of, “WHY DO OLD PEOPLE LOOK SO OLD!” and, “DOESN’T THAT PERSON SMOKING KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO DIE?” didn’t win her the popular vote. Surprising, I know.
Her current brain to mouth to society for immediate judgment and excruciating embarrassment are as follows:
“WE ARE POOR!” – This was shouted into the face of a first-time visitor at our home. As if our guest needed the verbal confirmation. If our 2004 Dodge Caravan doesn’t scream luxury, then pardon me while I start our backyard trashcan fire with these $100 bills. We have food and a house and a swing-set. We have a coffee pot and toys and they have shoes. MOST without holes in the toes. Sure, we struggle to make ends meet, but, we are fine. Our bills are paid. Our mortgage is current. Our pantry is full. We have everything we need. Everything except eldest’s discretion. As I quickly run through my list of reasons why we are rich in spirit, daughter rolls eyes while unwilling participant in awkward conversation tries to back away slowly while I hold on to the collar of her shirt. “NO! HEAR THIS! HEAR HOW WE ARE THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING WE HAVE. Pay no attention to eye rolling 6 year old. She is thankful too. I promise. No need to complete that call to 911. (releases collar) COME BACK SOON!”
“DO YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOUR BELLY?” – GASP. Yes, she said this. To a woman who was clearly not pregnant. With no stomach to speak of. I knew why she was asking. She was asking if she was pregnant so that she could do a flip using her body as a backboard. It was out of respect and safety for the unborn fetus not in this woman’s body. Of course, as I covered daughter’s mouth with Press’n Seal and frantically laugh-explained this and, as I type this now, I realize how ridiculous this sounds. Almost as ridiculous as asking anyone if they are pregnant. I don’t care if a woman is wearing a shirt that says Special Delivery Forthcoming!, you shut your mouth and assume she is anticipating a UPS package. You never, EVER, evernever ask a woman if she is pregnant under any circumstance. Not even when they are asking for a ride to the hospital. Never. If you see a baby’s head, you say, “Uh, I think you have a little something there on your vagina.” Never.
“WHY DO YOU DRINK WINE EVERY DAY?” – She said this in the wine aisle. At the grocery store. In the middle of the day. As loudly as humanly possible. This is why. This is most definitely why I drink wine every day. My verbal response was not needed. I do appreciate the woman who stopped to help me climb out of the cardboard wine stand and didn’t make mention of the reusable grocery sack I was using to hide my face. You’re a gem, lady.
And last, but, certainly not least. Actually, last and definitely most:
“BOYS AND BOYS CAN’T GET MARRIED!” – While this nugget of inclusion and tolerance may be technically, and sadly, true in some states, it is not true in our state. More importantly, it is not true in our home and hearts. We do not believe this. We do not promote this. We do not endorse this message. I heard this, in slow motion, as I struggled to change our youngest, the still ever quiet and current favorite. As I came flying in from the playroom with a baby dangling under one arm, a dirty diaper in the other and one finger outstretched to try to press the rewind button on her small mouth, I saw the hurt mixed with loving patience in our dear friends’ eyes. Friends that we love. Friends that are considered family. Friends that I hope to one day have the same rights most of us take for granted. As they stood in our kitchen, silent and unsure where the boundary of friend ends and non-parental teacher begins, my full force, five-alarm fire body came bursting through the curtain separating the kitchen and living area (See above paragraph about our financial situation. As you can see, RICH). “Who taught you this? Where did you hear this? This is NOT so. I love Daddy. Daddy loves me. P loves D and D loves P. It’s the same thing. We are no different. Do you understand? Please say you understand.” I hope in her heart she does understand. I hope in her heart she heard me. I hope that I have enough patience and time and that she respects us enough to allow us to continue to teach her that all love is the same love. The Muppets said it best: Peoples is Peoples. I can only hope that this declaration from our daughter will be my wake-up call. The shrill alarm that reminds me that loving your neighbor and full, unconditional acceptance are not automatic. That love is a gift we must choose every day and that we must choose, every day, to teach it to our children. It was also a reminder that hubs and I are not doing our job well enough. With all of our love, acceptance, inclusion and well formed ideals, we must be vigilant. Vigilant in patience, love and understanding. We have 12 more years to get it right. 12 more years of waves of embarrassment, on both sides. 12 more years of big words, small words, right words and wrong words. Words of hope and love.
Out of the mouths of babes. Our eldest is 6. She is opinionated. She is loud. She has the potential to, one day, eloquently spread a message of love. We are grateful for her reminders of the work we have to do.