July 15, 2011

Babe, is it okay with you
if I call our young family “The Nation?”

If I move you and the kids to an as-yet-undiscovered
field somewhere in Oregon,

and we let them pick their own new-world names,
whatever they want,
though it’s heavily implied that the son or daughter
who picks her name from the “Star Wars” pantheon
will receive candy of better quality
with greater frequency?

If we teach that hide-and-seek, rather than an afternoon’s diversion,
is an endless game that is always going on on some level,
be it through gradual Cold War-style maneuvering
or all-out open hostilities?

If I lock the kids in the closet sometimes and yell
“Don’t come out until you’ve found the magical world
behind the coats?”

If we have them reenact the “Sky’s The Limit” music video
because it would be fun to see our smaller children
portraying the children in the video
who were themselves portraying Biggie and Puffy and Faith and Lil’ Kim

and if I root for our new baby to be a girl
because as it stands now we only have a Biggie and a Puffy and a Faith?

If we home school them each individually, in different rooms,
the two of us running back and forth
in the hallway, teaching all subjects to everyone at all hours,
never discussing with each other what exactly we’re telling them,
or who’s being taught what subject
or being honest with each other about which subjects are necessarily our strong suits,
so that it is possible that each one of our kids will reach the age of reason
knowing two different maths, two histories, two geographies,
all of which could be woefully incorrect, or just plain fictional?

If I tell them “I don’t have a favorite, NONE of you are my favorite,”
and then sigh mournfully over a framed picture of a kid we have told them
is our first son Ethan but is actually a kid who came with the frame?

If we sit them all down one night around a fire in the clearing and say,

“Listen, Greedo, Wedge, IG-88, Kim: when Mommy and Daddy were little everybody was trying harder than they ever had in history to make sure their kids came out okay—“

“Right, they probably overthought it, if anything…”

“Exactly, and so their kids came out maybe even worse for all that effort.”

“A lot of times, anyway.”

“Yea, some things were good.”

“Kids were getting a lot more vitamins than before—”

“Have you guys ever heard of The Flinstones?”

“Right, Wedge. The historical figures.”

“So what Mommy and Daddy figured is, why overthink it?”

“But then what they realized is, Mommy and Daddy kind of can’t HELP but overthink things.”

“It’s sort of what attracted Mommy and Daddy to each other in the first place.”

“Or at least something they found they had in common.”

“Once they stopped pretending they weren’t overthinking things.”

“So if we were going to overthink you, and your upbringing, Mommy and Daddy figured, we’ll just have to overthink being bad parents.”

“We figured, if trying too hard to raise you right is going to mess you up, maybe trying too hard to raise you wrong will make you turn out okay.”

“Get back from the fire, Kim. Fire IS a toy, but you’re grounded from playing with it right now.”

“Gotta get to Narnia faster next time, kiddo.”

Posted by DC at July 15, 2011 02:57 PM
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