Thursday, July 15, 2010

poor bastard theory

I have recently developed a theory about my relationship with my children.

My girl is independent and efficient. She reminds me of my grown up self, the only me that she has ever known. She loves a project, and tends to jump headfirst into it without bothering about strategic plans or possible complications. When it was time to get busy with her final school project of the year, the one thing she neeeeeded to get started was a big yellow display board. She proceeded to take that board to school and cover it with ridiculous and inefficient pencil marks to outline where she would place each tidbit of data for her project. Erasing those marks was my biggest contribution to her project. She asked for help when she needed it, but generally scoffed at whatever ideas or suggestions I had to offer. She blew through her presentation with ease; the only hints that she was perhaps the teeniest bit nervous were her sideways swaying and fast talking.

NO, not Teen Magazine. Hers was sea turtles, on the left. With all the yellow.

She did great, she mostly read from her cards, but with pointed emotion and poignant affect. You really did want to lend a helping hand to those poor oil soaked sea turtles. My heart was huge with pride, she's just so awesome and capable.

Then there's my boy, ach. My boy. He reminds me of myself as a child. Cautious and guarded and painfully self aware, with his heart right out there on his sleeve. He’s always been the boy of my heart, whether it’s a firstborn thing or a mama’s boy thing is in the eye of the beholder, but I swear sometimes I take a peek to make sure that the umbilical cord was indeed detached. His project would still be inside his head without my intervention. He needed constant coaching and inspiration; he never voluntarily spent independent time on it. He welcomed my ideas and sought out my approval. He wasn’t paralyzed by his nerves as I would have been if I had to speak in front of 100 people at that age; he’s been doing public speaking for years at school and karate, but he was anxious about it and didn’t have much of an appetite the night before his presentation.

He did great too! Who knew that pickles had such a long and colorful history? According to my boy, even Julius Seizure was known to tout the beneficial properties of a well brined veg. He even made a batch at home, and cut them up into well received samples.

Recent events have changed all of us, and have perhaps deepened the bond that I have with my boy. It’s gone from a hallmark sentimentality to a thing like when Elliot got drunk as ET pounded beer, and ET got all pale and dead looking when Elliot was lost or whatever. It’s been a while since I saw that movie, but I remember that connection and now I’m living it. I literally lost sleep over the quality of those pickles. Sure, part of that was due to the fact that I was the so-called responsible adult who would (or should) have been held accountable if anyone was poisoned or made to puke; but another part was just feeling it with my boy. Driving to their school for his presentation, I was a bundle of nerves, humming with anticipation and running through the main points in my head. It occurred to me that I was behaving exactly as I would have if it were MY presentation.

And that’s when my theory was born:

she is me now,

he is me then.

Poor bastards.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Every time I talk to you lately Jacquie -- well, you know, with a keyboard in front of me -- I end up cracking up out loud. As your last line made me do this morning.

I love your analysis of your children. I always knew your kids were cracked. I always knew they were demented and nuts and off their wee little rockers.

But now I know why.

Great post. Love you. See you next week.

Love, Ellie + my little guy*

(*inside joke and possible blog post)

poor bastard in PA said...

we've never met, but eing like you doesn't seem too bad a fate :)

With my 3 kids it seems all their good qualities come from their dad and all the lame-ass qualities can be traced back to me.

I guess that makes me the poor bastard!

Pickles and Dimes said...

Such cute kids and such great presentation topice! Love it.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

What happened to Bill's genes? lol.

I love the range of the projects, from pickles to Teen magazine. And I love your title :-)