Maybe it’s some kind of truth or aphorism that those who have kids know those who have kids, and those who don’t, well…don’t.
I hardly know anybody who has kids, other than Mike, Amber, and Candi, and due to distance, we don’t hang out all that much, though I follow the proceedings with an interest bordering on fascination, knowing I could never, ever in a million years do that.
The kid I have spent the most time with lately is the remarkable daughter of a remarkable friend. Daughter is now five years old, going on thirty-five, and possibly then some. Her name is Jessica, and I’ll just share a few Jessica stories with you to show you what I mean.
When Jessica was three, I was holding her in my sister’s garden. She put her arms around my neck, cuddled up to me, and said, “Actually, I’m a very affectionate person.”
Same year: I was planning to come up to my sister’s (Jessica’s second mother) place for Thanksgiving, and she asked Jessica if she remembered me. Jessica put both hands on her hips and said, “Of course I remember Susan.”
A few months ago, playing Candy Land with my brother: “Jonathan, you’re kicking my ASS.”
We took Jessica to Great Day in Elk in August. One of the major events is a greased pole with money stuck to it, from a $1 bill lower down to $100 at the top. She was the smallest person to take a shot, and it never occurred to her that she couldn’t do it. Of course, she couldn’t, but she gave it a great try and came running out with a big smile, saying, “When I’m thirteen, I’ll do it.”
She just might.
Jessica and her mother met my family and me at the County Fair a couple of weeks ago. She sat on my lap during the sheepdog trials, and asked, “Suuuuzy….do you have anything for me, other than hugs and kisses?”
I didn’t, and I was a little bit perplexed, since she was never one of those kids who always expects a present. At all. I confessed my deficiency, and she leaned against me and prompted me: “No…diamonds?”
I often wear a necklace set with teeny, tiny diamonds, even in the country, and she was thrilled in a Suzy-like manner to learn that they were real diamonds, however small. A diamond, as Horton would say, is a diamond, no matter how small. On every visit, she’d borrow it from me. So I think she was disappointed that I was unadorned for the occasion.
That disappointment was nothing compared to her disappointment with the school bus system on her first day of kindergarten.
On the way home from school, she was nearly at her town, where her mother was supposed to reclaim her, when the bus unaccountably turned back. It went to the high school, picked up some kids, and distributed them, as school buses do. It turned out later that this was a one time thing, but Jessica didn’t know that at the time. Eventually, she was reunited with her mother.
The next day, she asked her teacher to take her to the principal’s office. Now, I don’t know about you, but despite all the “I’m the ‘pal’ in principal”, I never bought it and figured the principal, like most authority figures, should be avoided. On principle.
Jessica, however, figured why waste her time on the teacher, let’s go to the top. Which she did.
On entering the principal’s office, she said, “Hi, I’m Jessica E—, and I have a problem with your bus.”
As the principal gazed at her, she added, “I’m not comfortable with the bus, and you need to call my mother [insert name and number here] and work it out.”
Then she left.
I asked what the principal said, and after she recovered from the shock, she called Jessica’s mother and there hasn’t been another problem.
I was telling a friend at the gym this story, and two huge, scary-looking weightlifters who overheard me had to actually set down their weights, they were laughing so hard.
The teen years are going to be sooo easy.