Friday, September 16, 2016


Tonight, there was magic.

It began at the dinner table, where so many sacred and sustaining moments occur... and it carried through the night.  Our dinner was late on the table, due in part because of after-school plans and a new recipe I'd been eager to try but took longer to make than anticipated.  Hungry but happy, we gathered around Anne(tte)'s enchilladas, cornbread, chips and salsa, and pineapple.  Everyone devoured dinner and exclaimed how good it was; that, in and of itself, felt satisfying and rewarding, given it was a brand new recipe with components that often get nose snubs.  (What the hell is offensive about shredded chicken, may I dare ask?)

As we filled our bellies, we filled each other in on our days.  Pax had a marvelous field trip to the Frontier Culture Museum; Aidan loves his science class and teacher; Leo had an awesome time at Fun Fridays; and I enjoyed a good haircut and a great run.  And then.

Out of the seemingly clear blue, Leo said, "I think that some girls are like magnets, and some boys are like metal."  "What do you mean by that, like they attract each other?" I asked.

"No," he clarified, "Like some boys want all the girls to stick to them."

Again I asked, "What do you mean by that?"

"Well, there's this boy, Carter.  He likes all the girls.  He talks to them, and says stuff to them.  And today at recess, he was saying stuff to a girl, and then he ran away.  The girl came and sat next to me, and I think she felt uncomfortable because of what Carter said to her."

I rehearsed those words a hundred times so that I committed them to memory.  My 9 year old son observed "I think she felt uncomfortable because of what Carter said to her." 

If ever there was a teachable moment, wrapped up in a shining gold ribbon and sitting on my plate, begging to be unwrapped, it was This Moment.

I praised Leo for observing that the girl felt uncomfortable.  I validated how important it is for girls to feel comfortable with boys, and that boys may not say or do anything to make a girl feel uncomfortable.  I shared with them my experience as I was walking on the Downtown Mall.

"Just yesterday, I was walking to the gym, and a man that I passed said to me, 'Hey sexy.' "(brief interruption to explain that "hey sexy" essentially meant "I like your body.")

 I told my sons how it made me feel, like I was only being seen for what I look like on the outside, not for who I am on the inside.  And that each of us are so much more than what we see on the outside.  And I said that it wasn't a compliment, because it didn't make me feel good at all.

"I'm smart," I began.
"VERY smart," Aidan added.

"You're strong, Mama!  You can see it, like, in your arms," Pax observed.

"Yes.  I am smart, and I am strong.  I am also kind," I stated.  "And that's what I want people to notice about me, and so it hurt my feelings when that man said 'Hey, Sexy,' because he didn't see me for who I am."

"Like Brian sees you?" Leo asked.
"Yes," I replied.  "Like Brian sees me."

Pax said, "But Mama, you're still cute.  You are always cute."

(Honestly, how many arguments can one have with a six year old in a day?)

I reiterated again how powerful it was that Leo paid attention to how uncomfortable a boy made a girl feel, and that we must be very careful to give compliments to people - using words to express what we admire about another person - and that our words our powerful.

Abruptly, as these moments tend to be, we moved on to another topic, and eventually found our way on to the deck, where we'd gathered materials in advance for the first fire pit of the season, plus s'mores to go with.  As we coaxed fire out of kindling and a match, and waited patiently to add logs, just to wait more patiently for the fire to burn down to s'more temperature, we told stories.

Most of them featured three little boys who were just sittin' and thinkin', sittin' and thinkin'.  A few included a Mama, or a Mama and Daddy who loved them fiercely.  Most of them made sense, some of them were poignant in the face of our moment in time, and all of them were magical.

I sat back and gazed upon my three sons, drinking in redemption, and reveling....

It is my great hope that I will take my sons to Disney World to experience all of the Magic of the Mouse.  But tonight, all I could think was, the magic is here.  For free.  At our table.  On my deck. With my sons.

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