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Spring Break and the Voices in my Head:

April 3, 2014

There are some angel voices that I can tune into when I need them:  one is my beautifully accented yoga teacher saying, “Marlene, you are doing soooooar awehersome.” Another I’ve been summoning to get me through spring break with the kids:
We were at the City Hall, once upon a time, picking up a communities in bloom award for the community garden: so you’d think I’d be feeling all smug and self-righteous or something, but I’d just made my small children last through a lot of polite sitting and polite clapping and polite speeches about… I don’t remember. I remember the sound of their young, shrill voices bouncing through the glass pyramids, I remember the swivel of heads when my kids made noise at inappropriate moments (psssst… all the moments were inappropriate) and I remember the librarian-like frowns that the sudden and unpredictable movements they made were garnering from the crowd we were standing out in (pssst… all my children’s movements are sudden and unpredictable). Someone had given them plastic promotional toys, produced in China, that said something about conserving energy or some such, and they span around delightfully when you tossed them into the air on their way to quickly breaking and becoming trash.

“These are outside toys,” I insisted, but their counter-argument was to simply to take turns dashing under chairs and tables then throwing their spinners gleefully up into the glassy peaks while I wrestled the toy away from their sibling. By the time I had them all gathered up, children and toys, I was mortified and entirely certain that everyone was staring at me and wondering why my kids weren’t behaving like they do at the end of Nanny 911 episodes after they’ve been wisely bribed and properly threatened and smartly edited. I wanted out of that scene and into the open air. If I could just get from point A to point B without knocking over any displays about sustainability…
I was herding them through the gloom and the dour when an elderly man across the hall waved to me and made the international sign for “I need to tell you something.” I signaled back with the international sign for, “I’d love to hear you out but, gosh, we’re in a rush,” and he signaled back, “Don’t be silly, wait right there, I’m coming over now.” He must have been at least in his late nineties, and very slow to drag himself over after his walker, foot by foot across the vastness of City Hall. I considered dashing away, but my children’s habit of proceeding through a building in an… unlinear way made us even slower then the gentlemen. I braced myself for his arrival and the dispensing of his wisdom. I was pretty sure it would be something along the lines of, “Your children hurt my hearing aides,” or, “When we did things properly women just stayed home so children didn’t bother anyone,” or perhaps, “Ma’am, your children are bad because you aren’t even trying.  You should try.” Oooooooh, that’s the worst. That really gets me. But he didn’t say that.

What he said, when he finally inched his way across the tiled floor, beckoned me closer with a bony, age-spotted finger, and held me with his glittering eye, leaning over his walker to speak, was:
“You want them lively like that. The ones that are dull in the eyes are no good.”

Remember that, now: You want ’em lively like that. The ones that are dull in the eyes are no good. 

Happy spring!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Agnes Wurfel permalink
    April 3, 2014 11:50 am

    Yes, Marlene, I agree, you want them lively. They sure are quiet when they go to a program that is age appropriate. They were perfect at our last visit and we enjoyed them immensely.
    Love, Mom and Dad

  2. April 3, 2014 2:09 pm

    Lovely story. I will remember you the next time my kids are awfully lively in public. Thanks.

    • April 4, 2014 3:48 pm

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. Sometimes I find it helps to just shout, “You people are acting like children!”

  3. April 4, 2014 7:49 am

    So nicely said- ‘lively’ is definitely the thing we should admire about kids.

  4. April 5, 2014 3:23 pm

    That’s such a nice story. ‘The active ones are the bright ones’ is my mantra in times of need.

  5. April 7, 2014 7:59 am

    Hurray for the lively ones!
    I can’t wait to hug and kiss your lively ones this summer…
    We’ll be defending on Edmonton with our bunch of yellers…

    xoxo Lisa

    • April 7, 2014 6:05 pm

      I’m so glad. I just saw your pa and your bro and the little Rossers and missed you!

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