There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
When she was good
She was very, very good
And when she was bad, she was horrid*
This is a little ditty my sainted mother used to recite to me. Although I don’t think I’ve thrown it in my own daughter’s face, it applies to her as well. As a matter of fact, it’s still a pretty accurate description of my own temperament, the horrid part emerging when Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. (I am, however, rarely lonely. In fact I love my solitude.)
So it is with my darling daughter, on the brink of becoming a teenager. So hungry. She got braces on Monday and can hardly chew. So angry. With her 16-year-old-brother. All the time. Lonely? I don’t think so judging from the amount of time she spends IM,ing and the recent increase in her telephone time. Tired. Not at night when she can’t sleep. Definitely in the morning, when she can’t get up in time to make the school bus. So sweet/So cranky. So easygoing/So stubborn. So fun/So not. Did I mention she’s a redhead? Of Irish and Italian extraction? God, I love her. So much it hurts.
Wednesday, my 16-year-old announces he will not be taking his car up to our corner garage for an oil change. Instead, he is going to do it himself. Never mind that he’s never done it before. In fact, no known ancestor has done it before. What has possessed him? I stayed inside, bracing myself for the crash that would indicate the Bimmer had fallen off the blocks. It took about three hours, two neighbors, a can of $45 motor oil and a $15 filter, but the job was done.
“Honey,” I said. “That’s three times what it costs up at the corner when you’ve got a coupon.”
“Mom. They use (respectable name brand oil). I can’t put that in my car.” And here I thought motor oil was motor oil. God, I love him. So much it hurts.
Still, maybe I ought to put Click and Clack on speed dial.
*The journalist in me always wants to give attribution to quotes. When I Googled** this childhood verse, I was surprised to find its author is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
**When is the spellchecker going to realize that "Googled" has become a verb?