Conversation #1: Love and Rockets
Alex and I are in the car, which is where I always have the most excellent conversations with my kids. "Mom, when I grow up, I'm going to be a pilot."
"That sounds pretty cool," I say.
"Yeah. And Claudia is going to be an atsmumble."
My hearing sucks, I have difficulty filtering audiostreams, and Alex is hard to hear when he's sitting right behind me anyway. I turn off the radio. "Claudia is going to be an actress?"
"No, Mom. Claudia is going to be an astronaut."
"Oh! That's even cooler!" Claudia, for those who may not recall, is Alex's girlfriend that he's decided he's going to marry when they grow up.
"Yeah! And she's going to wave at me in my airplane from the front of her rocket when she goes up into space."
That's love, ladies and gentlemen. True. Love.
(And, to be a tiny bit political, I'm pleased that my awesome kid has so far avoided absorbing the cultural poison that dictates a man should have a more prestigious job than his wife. Alex is very proud and excited with his plan to wave to his spacefaring wife from below, and so am I.)
Conversation #2: Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be
Same car ride, after picking Penny up from Matt's. Germaine information: there was a book fair at school today; I gave Penny $10 for one book that she wanted, and she decided to take in some of her own money to buy a couple more books. (Which, by itself, is pretty awesome.)
"Mom? I gave one of my friends ten dollars -- not the ten dollars you gave me, but ten of my own dollars -- for the book fair. But we got in trouble."
Okay, I'm of mixed feelings about this, because $10 is a fair amount of money for a 9-year-old, but it is, to be fair, her own money.
She continues. "And then when they made Xavier give the stuff back--"
"Wait. You gave $10 to Xavier?"
"...Wasn't he the one who was being really mean to you, earlier this year?"
"Yes. But just because he's mean doesn't mean I have to be. I'm nice. We're supposed to treat people the way we want to be treated."
I blink back tears so I don't wreck the car and I say, "That's right, sweetie. That's absolutely right."
Every parent's wish, for every parent who's ever been worth even half a damn, is that their kid will grow up to be a better person than themselves. And I am seeing it realized before my very eyes.
And then, because positive reinforcement is really important, I make a point of saying, "I'm really proud of you, sweetheart, because not many kids your age would understand that. Really, really proud."
She goes on to confess that she also gave another friend fifty-five cents, but that friend promised to pay her back tomorrow.
I offer her my own hard-won advice on the lending of money to friends -- to wit, to assume, when giving money to friends, that it is a gift rather than a loan. That way, you do not give away money that you will actually need, and if you get the money back, it's nice... but if you don't, then you don't resent them for it.
She says, airily, "Oh, I don't care if she pays me back. Besides, there are lots of things that money can't buy. Like family and friends."
I mean, just.
Stupid pollen, getting in my eyes...