All parents curse their children. “When you grow up, you’ll have a child just like you,” they say. I didn’t take it too seriously. After all, I was a delightful child, easy-going, charming, and pretty darn compliant if I do say so myself.
I did wonder if the curse had slipped, turned sideways, when Elliot acted a lot more like my brothers than me. I remember vividly when he was about 3. He was an engaging toddler with brown curls and brown eyes, chatting up the old ladies at the supermarket who paused to comment on him. He just liked people. And people liked him. “What lovely curls,” they’d say, patting his springy head. “What beautiful eyes.”
Not surprisingly, he couldn’t quite tell what areas of the body were appropriate to compliment and which weren’t. So I had to endure several months of him complimenting women on what was eye-level for him. “I like your bottom,” he told one woman. And he patted another one’s knees. “I like your legs,” he told her. The women gave me looks that obviously questioned our home life and parenting abilities.
I am pretty sure I never put my mother through anything like this.
However, I might deserve what I got this weekend. I do actually remember having a lot of, er, um, extra energy in junior high. I remember giggling and giggling and giggling with my friends. And now I have Ilsa to reflect my former self back to me.
Thanks, Mum & Dad! Guess your wish has come true after all.
This weekend we celebrated Ilsa’s birthday. No she did not want a combined party with her twin brother. She wanted to have a scavenger hunt at the mall with 11 of her closest friends. What did I mean, 11 was a lot? She had already pared down her list to the absolute minimum.
Luckily, only 9 could make it. Ilsa was crushed. “It’s good for you so I’m happy,” she said in a tone of voice that meant the opposite. Because each friend was vitally important. She had already pared the guest list down to the essentials.
Ilsa was very very very excited about her party. Saturday morning found her bouncing around and giggling nonstop. Saturday afternoon found her bouncing around and giggling nonstop. Saturday evening found her quiet, crashed out, and wanting to lie down somewhere and moan loudly to herself.
At some point, watching her friends watch her in amazement, as her hyperness had passed beyond normal bounds even for junior high girls, I had sort of a flashback. Although I was not looking in a mirror, I recognized the expression on my face. I had seen it on my mother’s.
And I realized the curse had come upon me. I had a daughter who was just like me.
Luckily, this should mean that soon she’ll outgrow it and settle down to be curmudgeonly. But I passed on the curse just the same. I can’t wait to watch her deal with my giggling grand-daughter at some point in the future.
Ilsa decorating the table with her best friend before the party. She is laughing so hard she can hardly breathe.