Children at an early age often talk crap. To start with, they repeat every single thing you say just to piss you off, they say NO when they actually would like to say yes, they repeat the same thing over and over again etc. You just wish that the latest idiom they are obsessed about is not ‘fuck, fuck, fuck ‘because whatever the situation (riding the subway, doing grocery shopping, being on a play date etc.), it is mortifying. Never happened to me by the way. Ever…
However, sometimes unexpected things can happen. My son, G, since he can talk, has been saying ‘Hi’ to everyone he sees, absolutely everyone. It sounds cute and endearing but in reality, it was kind of annoying because I had to smile and say ‘Hi’ too while I was half sleeping or on the verge of a nervous breakdown because the twins were a real pain in the ass to get into their stroller. And then the holy season came and with it some more cheerful dispositions on my part. That is when I started to pay attention. After two months, I came to this conclusion: G is Gandhi and I am an unapologetic snob. Son 1- Mom 0.
Indeed, the last two months he said ‘Hi’ to:
– an old obese man who was catching up his breath by the stairs of a brownstone house, panting and panting and looking…obese. The man looked at us and gave us a huge smile. His face brightened up and he told us: ‘Hi. God bless you.’ I said ‘Thanks’ and started to giggle with him and talk about how yes, they were twins and how yes, I needed God’s blessing. The ‘without kids me’ would never have had such conversation because I would have felt uncomfortable (and, dare I say, felt sorry) next to an old panting obese man. An uncomfortable feeling would have been enough for me to switch sidewalks. But the ‘with G me’ made me have a playful conversation with a heavy person with a pretty quick spirit.
– a trio of tough looking, ‘I am wearing my jeans showing 50% percent of my underwear’, rough speaking guys. G said ‘Hi’ once, twice an three times. The boy does not give up until you answer back. Meanwhile, I was awkwardly looking at the pavement and, I am ashamed to admit, was thinking ‘G, just shut up’. I even started to hold tight on my iPhone. Upon G’s insistence, the guys eventually lost their stern masks and became three rather goofy teenagers. One of them told me he was a twin too and insisted that I told him who was born first. I finally said that it was the boy but it did not really matter because it was only by one minute (miracle of C-section). He laughed out loud and said pulling his pants up with a proud smug: ‘Mama, it does matter. It really does. I am 5 minutes older than my brother and I am telling you, he hears about it all the time.’
– two teenagers in a subway with their headphones on. G smiled at them and waved. One was a Black Latino wearing dreads and a sports cap sideways, the other was also mixed race with those weird gang style eyebrow cuts on each side. As they waved back, I really looked at them and noticed something unexpected. They were holding hands. Two minutes later, one kissed the other on the forehead. It was a ‘what the fuck’/’absolutely awesome’ experience for me. Thanks to G, I saw two young men who publicly loved each other in the middle of the day in the fucking subway. I am not talking about two skinny jeans wearing, show tunes loving, cleanly shaved guys here. I am talking about two young men showing all the superficial signs of the Alpha male street culture proudly showing PDA (Public Display of Affection). It is a big thing people, real big.
That is just a sample of what situations I get drawn into thanks to my big-mouthed son. I realize that kids can bring good stuff into your life and I am not talking about my retirement fund. I am increasingly getting sceptical about any of them paying for my nursing home or taking care of me when I am demented or become incontinent. However, I should start now to embrace my children’s perhaps most amazing gift: ‘the reset button’, as I call it. A button that resets my fears, resets my ‘whatever’ attitude and mostly resets my prejudice. Indeed, my kids’ babbling is often deafening but if I let myself go, it can probably sometimes open my eyes. For the best.
P.S. I enrolled in a blogger competition, the circle of moms. If you like what you read, please vote here. Thanks!!