For a living breathing person with so many progeny it sometimes startles me how little I reflect on being a human person with so many progeny. So I am taking this moment of procrastination, from the several other things I should absolutely be doing, to cast my eyes childward.
Here is what I see: I have a glorious hodge-podge of childern. Generally speaking, they have several things in common:
- number one, they’re funny.
- Second, they’re as verbally sharp as a dried pine needle cleverly disguising itself in groundcover (and anyone who’s walked through their yard barefoot knows of what I speak).
- In addition, they each have enough smartassitude to strip paint off a wall, and
- lastly, not one of them is like the other.
I have one who is an antiestablishment whipsmart feminist on the single-handed mission to school anyone who disrespects her, women, children, baby seals, our new Prime Minister, any member of her family, the Mayor of Calgary, or her 1999 Toyota Corolla name Yoda.
I have one who is so naturally kind, warm, and generous that her friends, her siblings, and strangers she meets in coffee shop lines, bowling alleys, or wedding receptions in small town community hall bathrooms unload to her their deep pain and blackest secrets. She also releases some sort of pheromone only perceptible by people under the age of 7 (we speculate it smells like cookies) because no matter where she goes or what she’s doing all nose-miners are instantly attracted to her like hornets to a hot dog roast.
I have one who was born with a preternatural knowledge of grammar and is such a talented writer that even his elementary teachers were occasionally moved to tears by his writing. In fact, a high school English teacher once referred to him as the Wayne Gretzky of writing. But his talent at writing is blindingly eclipsed by the loving tenderness and care he showers on his 2-year-old son.
I have one who is so driven that she’s able to accomplish anything and everything she decides to do: thus far in her short life she has taught herself how to do an aerial cartwheel, a front handspring, three consecutive pirouettes, speak French, play the trumpet, choreograph intricate modern dance routines, do the splits all three ways, hang from her heels in an aerial lyra hoop, and dazzle all her teachers with her wit, charm and intelligence.
And I have one that is so empathic, so sensitive, so kind and so unfailingly aware of the pain in the world that he has trouble sleeping. At 5 years old, he worried that having a night light in his room would contribute to the world’s overuse of electric energy which would contribute to the melting of polar ice which would then cause mass polar bear extinction, so he would lay in bed and alternately cry with fear because it was too dark or cry with anguish because of what he was doing to the global population of bears. At 9 years old he would painstakingly plan, driven by utter fear, how, if we were struck with a house fire, he would safely get his beloved stuffed animals out alive. And at 14, in a small hotel room filled with 3 rambunctiously overwrought young children, he managed to get his 3-year old cousin into his pajamas and quietly tucked in bed while this rubber ball in human form’s mother and grandmother stood by grateful and amazed.
In short, I have children who, if they put their collective forces to work, would simply and easily take over the world.
With five kids, a grandson, the most stunningly beautiful daughter-in-law on the universe, a too-kind-to-me husband, a full-time job, contract work, and a full-time virtual Master’s degree, I get very little time to reflect on my life and my kids–crap! I get very little time to adequately wipe myself after I pee. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it the state of the world. Maybe it’s my uterine hormone tap turning itself off for good, or maybe it’s the constant aura of stale urine hovering around my underbits that’s addling my brain, but for some reason, today, my heart has carved out some time to look at them and really, really see what I have before me. And what I feel surprises me: I feel humble, and I feel fortunate, I feel loved, and I feel like I must have done something really remarkable in a previous life to deserve these people because I’m not worthy of them….but they haven’t realized that yet, so let’s just keep that on the down low….that and the source of the pee-smell, ’cause I’m gonna hang on for dear life until they recognize that, A. they’re too good for me and they always have been, and B.in the not so distant future they’re going to have to take turns sponge-bathing me!