When I picked up my girls from school today Annalise begged to run ahead of me, home. I reluctantly agreed so off she went. Then Juliet pleaded to be allowed to do the same. Parenting dilemma….”You’re only seven,” I said. “You could fall or get lost…” Juliet rolled her eyes. “Why does Annalise get all the exciting stuff? I’ll be fine, I promise, Mom. Please!” I shook off the numerous ‘worst-case scenario’ episodes playing through my mind and smiled. Ok,” I said. “Be careful and go straight home.” So off she went, too. Which left me to walk home with Katriel. Instead of cheerfully seizing our time alone, she tearfully told me she hated her name, that all the kids made fun of it and called her “Cat”, which she didn’t like.
I told her I thought ‘Cat’ was a pretty great ‘tease’ name compared to what kids called me when I was a kid – Krusty. “Like the clown?” she asked, surprised. I nodded. She stopped crying and laughed at that, and suddenly all was looking up when Juliet appeared, running towards us, hysterically crying. She had split her knee open quite spectacularly, and now blood was streaming down her leg. “You were right!” she screamed. “I ran ahead and fell down. And I shouldn’t have, you were right. I’m always wrong. Kids are always wrong and Moms are always right.”
If I didn’t feel so badly for her I would have done a victory cart-wheel. My kids thought I was right! At last!
I didn’t have time to bask in glory. Blood and hysteria were both flowing. I dragged both girls into the local Boys and Girls club where a wonderful counselor bandaged Juliet up better than I ever could have done at home. Then the three of us walked home, gingerly now, talking about how we should stay together always and what to do if we were lost.
Our conversation went like this:
Me: “What would you do if you two got lost somewhere?”
Juliet: “I would try to find a policeman and tell him we are looking for our Mom.”
Katriel: “But what are you supposed to say to the policeman so he can find her?”
Juliet: “You say her name is Kristine.”
Katriel: “And that she has red hair and is a bit fat and has green eyes.”
Juliet: “Katriel! That is not nice!”
Katriel: “Well….you want him to be able to find her, right?”
I smiled. You had to admire their honesty. For better or worse.