Sweet and Sour I
A week ago, I asked Aaron what he was hoarding his private lesson money for; all I remember of his answer was “gobblely gook gobble gobble saxophone reeds” and in a moment of rare self-restraint, I let it go. Then, on Friday, I took the truck in to get the oil changed and two days later, Aaron asked if I’d perchance taken the $60 out of his glove compartment. I’d not, and since no one else has driven the truck and it does not appear to have been broken into, we’ve assumed the worst about the Midas mechanic who Penzoiled our Tacoma. That’s kinda sour. Aaron confessed then that he had been saving the money from the one guitar lesson he teaches on Mondays to buy me a camera for my birthday; that’s kinda sweet. P.S. The camera is still “unrecognizable,” according to the computer, thus, me jibber-jabbering and not me photo-posting. (Sam, why didn’t you give me your old camera?)
Sweet and Sour II
Think of the last time you were told “no” by either a real person or a real non-person, and I’ll tell you what you looked like on the inside. First, for a half second, you recognize, almost in surprise, that you’ve been declined. Second, your internal bottom lip starts to quiver. The brow furrows, and from nowhere, water wells up inside your heart’s eye sockets and, in the quiet of what we keep private, you cry something fierce. It looks a little like this:
Clara feels your pain. Lately, she has been playing with her food. She sucks on the pasta, sticks it out on her tongue, grabs it with her fingers, offers it to Mom, and finally, holds it out for Dakota to snag. The woman who watches Clara, and who has four very well-mannered children, said that today, she told Clara “no” when she started to play with her food. Oops. I’d forgotten about this part of parenting, and sort of thought anything Clara did, does, or will do is just fine because she’s so good on the inside. Ready to raise a well-mannered child of our own, Aaron and I tried out “no” again today. Clara is waving chewed bits of turkey in circles on her tongue, and Aaron gently says, “That’s not funny, Clara.”
Oh, wow. A whole human race’s worth of suffering and desolation appeared on my child’s face. Like a tidal wave, the pain rolled up her face from her chin to her eyes and she was shaking with the sadness of having disappointed the ones she loved.
And, it begins. Aaron sweeps her into his arms and comforts: “I was just doing what your momma told me to. I said what momma wanted me to say. That’s all. Coo. Coo. Coo.” I don’t even mind. We’re both scrambling to make the crying stop, Aaron with his best face contortions and me with my best melodic rendition of “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”
So the questions of the day are these: how do you say “no,” what does that feel like, and if I ask nicely, will Midas give me back my $60.