Monday, November 14, 2011

some follow-up thoughts to last "night's" post

That little girl with the explicit magazines - she was a sincerely sweet and painfully shy little girl who was still wetting her chair in 8th grade. After graduation, she sometimes tried to contact me - but we lost touch and the next I heard she had killed herself. It stunned me. Looking back, I'm pretty sure that something very awful was happening to her and that she had showed me those magazines as a sort of cry for help. Although I was disturbed by them, I was only seven and I was as scared as she was to tell someone. I felt I needed to add this postscript to defend and honor her memory. The other little children who showed me bad things were not nearly so inculpable as she.

I know that a body wave is not an acceptable alternative to proper grooming. However, I've been doing it for so long that it's almost an invincible habit. I also know that the tag inside your shirt does not make you a happier person. That was a bit of literary license - but I did sort of suddenly understand that line from The Family Man where Jack Campbell tells his wife, "This suit makes me feel like a better man." Also, I forgot to mention that the mother of Maria's friend politely and indirectly suggested to me that Maria is perhaps getting too much sugar. She informed me that pink foods are the worst at causing hyperactivity in young children. I chose not to share that Maria drinks about 3 cups of pink milk a day. But I did think about cutting her off cold turkey. However, because I was up until 2am writing that post, I was too tired to give that a go when the kids woke up at dawn this morning.


Bernadette. Several inquiries have been made by faithful blog readers about little Bernadette. (These concerned individuals are probably all middle children too and are concerned that she has not received adequate attention on the blog.) Rest assured that my lovely Bernadette suffers from no deprivation of attention in real life. Even in the shuffle of ministry and maria and new baby, there is always room for Bops. Her cuteness alone is a gravitational force that draws adults irresistibly into her orbit. Nor does one want to resist. Those ultra-puckered lips enunciating each drawn out syllable - the dulcet tones of her lilting voice - the garbled vocabulary - the way every sentence ends with a long drawn out woooooooooooord. She calls sunglasses eyesuns and birds cheepcheeps. I wish I had nothing else to do in life but converse with Bernadette. "Mah-mee-ah, tan I peeeaase haf some strum-streeeaaaam?"  (Translation: Mama, can I please have some sunscreen?) See how she makes the banal beautiful! One could never tire of this nor neglect its source! Bernadette wields other weapons in her battle for a fair share of parental attention.... She's a very accomplished tattletale. She's "hungry" all the time - and never eats. She dissolves into choking sobs at slightest frown or the gentlest reprimand.  She insists on dressing herself and emerges with everything distractingly wrong - shoes on the wrong feet, flip flop thongs through the wrong toes, dress on backwards, waist through the leg openings of her topsy-turvy undies, shirts worn as pants. She's also unfathomably clumsy. It's not her fault - she's an engineering disaster. I used to say that her head was disproportionately large, but it's prettier to say that her feet are disproportionately small. So she's tall and top heavy, with an enormous belly pulling her center of gravity forward all the time. And her shoes are on the wrong feet, don't forget. I'm shocked she manages to stay vertical at all. She falls off the chair at least twice per lunch. And she loves Joseph. I mean, she loves him. She showers him (gently) with such intense affection, such tender words of endearment, such loving caresses. None of the rest of us receive any of this treatment from her. Ever. We're all a bit envious of Joseph actually. We can't even compete and there are no consolation prizes left over for us - all goes to him. No one has informed Bernadette that she is supposed to be in the terrible twos. She's sweet and lovely and she's easy company. Especially if you're Joseph.


  1. Kelly,

    On Sunday during the Gospel reading, all I could think about was that obnoxious teenager in your class back in Pittsburgh who was irate that you wouldn't let him retake his test (after he got something like a 20). He said, "So what, the rich get richer?"And you told him that that's what Jesus said. :) I almost laughed out loud when it popped into my head during Mass.

    And while I too know that the tag inside your shirt doesn't make you a happier person, sometimes it does make your day better. :)