Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Boo coos, baby, boo coos!

Last Thursday might have been like any other day.  I was driving along highway 278 with my three kids in the car.  I had just picked them up from the bus and we were running a few errands before heading home to get started on the afternoon's homework.  I had already taken the usual survey on the 'HWSitch' (that's homework situation in our language - each kid reports first thing off the bus on their HWSitch, giving me some idea of how much to expect, as in "I have three Math pages and some Social Studies questions and I need to read my AR book and I forgot to tell you that I have a project due tomorrow" or "Things are good today; I just have to read for twenty minutes.")

The HWSitch report helps me plan for the afternoon.  And the report was good that day.  Not too much extra stuff, just the usual.  No one was inundated with work.  All was right with us in the Graham Tram (in our language, that's a way for us to feel a bit 'cooler' in our mini-van).  So, we were humming along down the road, each child talking to me at the same time and assuming I'm listening to only her or him - things were just about like most afternoons.

The sun was shining.  It was warm; very warm for late January.  Traffic was light.  (We don't really have a large traffic congestion problem in Covington, Georgia, but it seemed appropriate to report on the traffic conditions, as I give a bit of foreshadowing for what was to come.)  Tim had just recently put the tie-dye peace sign license plate on the front of the Graham Tram, so perhaps I was feeling a bit hipper than the rest of those poor moms I saw in the lanes beside me.

We were talking about 'energy necklaces' that EVERYBODY has and how one of my kids has one but how the other two NEED one because it just doesn't seem right not to have at least one and they really do help you have more energy and they might just seem like some cheap twisted cord to parents and they might not seem like they are worth fifty dollars but really they are and everyone just has to have at least one to have enough energy - you get the point.  The two from the back that still NEEDED the necklaces asked Emma in the front seat where she got hers.  She told them where she got it and then they asked if they had a lot to choose from and then I said it . . .

"Oh yeah, they had boo coos of them."  The heavens opened up, the wind began to blow at gale force, the world around us turned green and began to move in slow-motion, the car turned upside down and Emma's head turned around and around like in The Exorcism.  Emma has a stare, as many will tell you, and if she wants she can bore a hole right in the middle of your head .  This was a new stare, though, a different one.  This one made her head look like it was going to blow up and her eyes seemed to be rolling back into her head.

It took her a moment.  Good thing we were at a red light because I had to stay tuned to the stare, stay tuned for the report that was sure to come.

"Mama, WHAT?  BOO COOS?  What on earth?  Are you a hundred years old?  Please do not EVER say that again, ever."  That screamed, she turned her head back to the front window.

And then she seemed to feel a bit better - seemed to be somewhere between giggling about this horrible faux pas of her mother and just wishing it away completely.  She turned her head back to the horizon, and left me there in my 'hundred year oldness.'  I was left to merge back into reality, to keep the car between the white lines, to move about our day as if it had never happened.

I'm not one to let things lie without a good fight or at least without driving my children completely crazy, so I laughed and laughed and then I used the term boo coos at least forty times more in the next seven minutes.  I enjoyed that, I did.  My kids finally laughed, wishing I would just shut-up and praying with all of their might that I never ever ever let that slip when anyone else is around.

And then the heavens closed up, things turned right side up, time began again, Emma's head got back to a human range of motion and we went back to our regular day.  But inside I was listing all of the reasons that I AM NOT a hundred years old.  Inside I was explaining how very cool I am, how it might not look like it but that's just because they aren't wise enough, mature enough to see it yet.  Bless their hearts.  I'VE GOT A TIE-DYE PEACE SIGN ON MY LICENSE PLATE, FOR GOODNESS SAKE - can't they understand?

I guess the answer to that is no.  They can't understand, just like I didn't understand.  I'll have to wait on that the same way my parents waited and their parents before them.  I'll have to wait along with my friends, my comrades on the same battlefront.

I'll wait.  I will.  And I'll keep on saying stuff like boo coos and some time I may just decide to say it in front of their friends just because I have that power.  I'll keep on seeming a hundred years old, from time to time and sometimes I'll seem a lot younger, like forty seven.  And sometimes the sky will open up and Emma's head will rotate 360 degrees and all will be right with the world.  We'll keep on doing this just like folks have always done it.  My kids will keep thinking "hmmmm, sometimes she can be so cool and sometimes she's totally old" and I'll keep thinking, "they have absolutely no idea how very cool I am inside."

We'll all keep doing what Mamas and kids, the old people and the young people, have done since the 'olden days.'  And it'll be fine.

I know how cool we old people are, even if they don't!

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