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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mr. Cool Strikes Again

Sunday late afternoon, 300 plus people piled into a school in Nowhereville Illinois. The annual Christmas pageant was underway. The music teacher sat at the piano playing Christmas songs. Everyone in the audience was armed with camcorders/cameras. All of the parents waited proudly and patiently for the show to begin. The staff worked feverishly to set the stage, dim the lights, organize the props (including a Betsy Wetsy/Baby Jesus doll) and in they walked. The older kids were dressed in their Sunday best, while all of the little kids wore halos, wings and white gowns.

I began to think, "This will get me in the Christmas spirit. There's nothing like seeing a live holiday performance."

My little angel, Lane 2, waved and smiled at me as she walked by. Her halo shined almost as bright as her smile. She looked so cute.

The big kids were not far behind. Mr. Cool pretended not to see me as his class walked by. He did that head turn thing, accompanied by a fake "Something's in my eye." rub. You know the thing you do when you want to pretend you didn't see your mother waving frantically, blowing kisses while whisper yelling, "Pssst... son, over here!"

Fortunately, he looks just like me, so everyone knows I'm his mom. I told him that later. He wasn't pleased.

The way they set the kids up really sucked. Pretty and proud and in the very back row of the risers was Lane 2, who had to stand tiptoed to make sure she was seen. Front and center, there he was with that look on his face. If you have children 12 or older, you know what look I am talking about. For the rest of you, this look is partial disgust and embarrassment, topped off with a heaping scoop of cool.

I have a vision of everyone's pictures and video from that night with scowl face messing up the shot. Damn this preteen crap to hell, I say! I miss the way he used to be, all smiley, happy go lucky and especially not embarrassed of his mom.

Here are a handful of memories I'd like to share of Lane1, AKA, Mr. Cool's pre-cool days ...

1) My son, 4-years-old: You know the Skittles commercial, "Skittles, taste the rainbow"? Easter morning the child sat on the kitchen floor. He bit off one of his hollow bunny's ears, then chomped off the tail. He opened a snack pack size bag of Skittles. He poured the Skittles into the ear hole and as they fell out of the former tail region he said, "Skittles, poop the rainbow."

2) My son 6-years-old: I just got new bunk beds for the kids, who at the time were sharing a room. Lane 2 was scared. Her brother hung over the edge of the top bunk and asked, "What's wrong, Sis?"

"I'm afraid."

He climbed off of the top bunk, got their toy radio with microphone attached. He put the radio part on the top bunk by his pillow and hung the microphone along the backside of the beds down to the bottom bunk.

He said, "When you get scared, push the button and tell me what's scaring you."

Two nights later, kid intercom still intact, I hear my daughter call to my boy, "Get down here quick. I think I just saw a ghost."

He hopped down and stayed with her until she was asleep.

3) My son 8-years-old: My dear elderly friend Juanita passed away. Her family lived out of state so I took it upon myself to have her ashes taken care of. I sent half to Virginia, where her family was. The other half stayed in Illinois as she requested. The ashes first came to our house, awaiting her memorial service.

Lane 1 came in the house from school, saw the black box containing her ashes on a table.

He picked it up, shook it near his ear, and said, "Hey Mom, what's in the box?"

In a very melancholy voice I said, "Juanita."

"Hope I didn't make ya dizzy. Sorry Juanita," he said as he placed the box back down and patted the top, as if it were her head.

"Can we look in the box?" he asked seconds later.

"No, I don't think that would be very respectful."

"So I guess play ring-around-the-rosy with her is outta the question too, huh?" he joked. "Get it Mom? Ashes, ashes, we all fall down."

I hope you can see why this cool thing isn't really working for me. I could write for hours telling you about cute stuff he has said or done in the past. But that would be gay!