Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The beginning of the end of the age of innocence

Now that daylight savings is back on and it stays light later, the kids like to go for walks around the block in the evenings, often stopping at the houses of their friends to play and visit.  They'll go out and do their thing, and at around 7 p.m. I'll go find them and bring them home for dinner and to wind down before bed.

Today they went out after I got home.  I did my workout and then headed out to round them up.  They were at the home of some older boys (older than Zeke, I'd say 8 or 9).  There was a jump rope and a toy that shot foam rockets and a pogo stick.  One of the kids was bouncing on the pogo stick.

Immediately, there was something about the vibe that felt off to me.  Like, these boys were barely tolerating Zeke and were kind to trying to fuck with him a little bit.

Zeke is still so, so earnest.  He totally takes people at face value and is instinctively friendly and inclusive with people, and assumes that others are equally benevolent.  Not that he and his friends don't occasionally bicker, but when they have disagreements, they're open about it.  They have their disagreements, get them out of the way, and five minutes later are happily playing again.  They're not yet at the age where the concept of being passive-aggressive would even occur to them.

But, like I said, these boys are a little older.  They're a little more jaded.  And I could instinctively tell that they were barely tolerating Zeke, who wanted to desperately to be included and to be accepted by them.  They recognized that desire, and they used it against him.

He wanted so badly to have a turn on the pogo stick.  He asked if he could try.  And the boy on it said, "maybe."

"Mama, what does 'maybe' mean?" he asked me.

"It means could be yes, could be no.  It could go either way."

"Well, can I?"  he asked again.

The boy said, "I said maybe.  Maybe you can use it when I'm done with it."

At this point, he wasn't jumping on the pogo stick, but was still standing on it, leaning against a car.

I was staring daggers at the kid, and seriously wanted to say, "look, you little shit.  Either tell him he can use it or tell him he can't, but don't string him along just to be a dick."

But of course I couldn't say that.  So instead I said, "Zekey, come on, it's time to go home.  We need to eat dinner."

"But Mama, he said I could use it when he's done.  I don't want to go yet."

I said, "he said you could use it when he's done, but he's not getting off of it, so he's not letting you.  He's saying no.  Let's go."

I dragged him away and explained that the boy wasn't being very nice and was sort of taunting him by making him think that he would let Zeke use it but refusing to get off it.  "I don't like the way he was treating you.  He was teasing you because you're littler than he is.  He wasn't being a nice boy."

Maybe I overreacted.  But the whole incident made me feel sad and kind of sick to my stomach at the same time.  Zeke is such a sweet, open-hearted kid.  I know that he needs to learn that not everybody is always nice and benevolent.  But I'm not quite ready to have him learn that just yet.

Let him stay sweet a little longer.

Friday, March 07, 2014

The Impressive Clergywoman?

My brother Sam is getting married in a month.  The whole family is super excited, as we adore his fiancée (I've already considered her a sister-in-law forever).  A couple of months ago, I was talking to them about the wedding and asking how the planning was going.

"We've got everything mostly sorted out, but we need to find an officiant."

As a joke, I said, "well, if you want, I can get ordained online and marry you."

"Actually, I would love that," he said.  The fiancée concurred.

Turns out, getting ordained to conduct weddings is absurdly easy.  I googled "get ordained online" and found a "church" that ordains you as one of its own when you fill out an online form and hit "submit."  So I did that, and am now a minister with the Universal Life Church.  I checked with the Harris County clerk's office (they're getting married in Houston), and read the Texas law on the requirements for marriage celebrants, and I'm good to go. 

I'm so, so excited to do this.  I'm so happy for Sam - his fiancée is the polar opposite of Voldemort, his first wife.  It's a huge honor to play a role like this in what is obviously a major life event. 

Now to put the ceremony together.  They're going to do an interfaith ceremony that's heavy on Jewish traditions, so I've been researching the various aspects of the ceremony and started to put the draft together.  I'll have to practice my Hebrew for some of the blessings, but it shouldn't be too bad.

And if I get stuck, I can always go with, "mawwage is what bwings us togevver today..."