Making David Sedaris Proud

It’s been a year since the girls and I have lived together sans their father here.  He moved out a year ago.  Last year was a year in transition to say the least, but everyone is emerging in very good shape.  In better shape.

Personalities are revealing themselves in ways that may not have been permitted before.  As a parent, it’s reassuring to see.  As another human being who lives here, in the fray with a 13 year-old, an almost 16 year-old, and an almost 18 year-old, I find it extremely entertaining (yeah, Grace is almost 16!).

A few weeks ago, one of our family pets, Q the parakeet, died suddenly as in he literally keeled over.  Q was a very interactive bird.  He was very loud and screechy (a trait Doireann in particular disliked), but it’s because he loved attention.  Eadaoin loved him.  She had picked him out to be her bird.

On the night he died, I recall talking to him before I showered.  As soon as I opened the bathroom door wearing nothing but a towel, Milly approached me and whispered, “Mom, look at Q.”  I immediately felt dread.  I approached his cage and looked for Q.  He was lying on the bottom of the cage in a contorted pose, his wing entangled in the cage bars.

“Oh my god, what happened?! Is he alive? I just saw him a few minutes ago!” I shouted.

I reached into his cage to try to remove him, and I found that his feet had grasped onto the bottom of the cage which prevented me from removing him.  I had to undo his tiny grip, and it wasn’t easy.  Each little birdy toe was interlaced within the slats of the bottom of the cage.   I kept thinking, “How am I going to get him out of this cage without breaking his feet?”

Milly and Grace were hovering around me and the cage at this point.

“Is he alive? Is he alive? He can’t be dead! Eadaoin will be so upset.  Oh no…” Milly repeated.

I tried to reassure them, but I was fairly certain Q had died.  It looked like he had suffered a seizure based upon the final pose of his body.  I was having a helluva time removing him from his cage, and I noticed that my towel was slipping.

“Maybe he’s alive! Maybe he’s alive!” Milly suggested hopefully.

“Honey, I think he has probably died,” I finally said with both my hands still in the cage.

Grace was wringing her hands and trying not to cry.  My towel was going to fall off.

“What if he’s really alive?” Milly asked.

“He’s not alive,” Grace answered rather emphatically.

“He could be!” she countered.

“Look at him! He’s lifeless.  He’s dead, Milly!” Grace shouted to match Milly’s energy.

“He could be…you know…in one of those…what are they called?” Milly stammered.

“A coma?!” I answered, shocked, momentarily distracted from trying to get poor Q out of his cage.

“Oh my god, Milly, the bird doesn’t have locked-in syndrome! What in the world…he’s dead!” Grace said very pointedly.

“Well, I can hope, right?” Milly retorted, her fists balled up by her side.

“No, you can’t! You can’t hope for something to be in a coma when it’s died! That’s ridiculous…”

Interrupting the banter, I all but yelled out, “Hey! Eadaoin’s bird has died here! Stop it! And my towel is going to fall off.  Help me!”

That’s the moment I paused everything in my mind.  I observed the scenario.  Both my hands are in a bird cage while I stand almost naked, dripping wet, handling a dead parakeet while my daughters are literally yelling at each other over the possibility of our obviously dead bird having locked-in syndrome.  It was absurd.

I was eventually able to remove Q from his cage.  He had, in fact, died.  There was no doubt about it.  Everyone held him, and Milly spoke words of kindness to him as she held him: “You were always a loud bird, but we loved you.”

Eadaoin was predictably heartbroken.  She told me that she didn’t want to even see him, but, upon my suggestion that it would help her mourn him, she held him anyway.  Then, in a scene of sweet sadness, she pet his face and held him next to her heart.

Milly found a box, gently placed Q in it, and announced that she wanted to bury him in our backyard.  She also announced that she wanted to do it alone.  Eadaoin was too sad to be at his funeral, and I told Milly that I didn’t mind if she did it alone.  I could hear her singing a song to him from the kitchen.  I half expected to hear “Taps”.  She is a very serious girl.

I began to feel melancholy in observing everyone’s grief for their deceased pet.  I was sad, too, that he had died.  Milly came inside after burying Q, washed her hands, and leaned against the counter.  She looked thoughtful.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

She nodded and bit her lip.

I felt myself become anxious.  Maybe I should not have honored her request.  Did I make a bad decision? I don’t always know the right things to do.  Parenting is damn hard.

“Mom…” Milly asked tentatively.

“Yes?” I replied hesitantly afraid of what she was going to ask me.

“You’re sure that he’s dead, right?” Milly asked.

Suddenly, a loud shout from the living room boomed throughout the house.

“Oh my god! He doesn’t have locked-in syndrome! He’s dead!!!!!”

Breathing out a sigh of relief, I quietly laughed.  Yeah, everyone is okay.  Everything is fine.

 

 

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Meeting George Costanza

Doireann turned 18 yesterday.  I am now the mother of an 18 year-old.  I am sharply inhaling over that.  Sweating even.  I went out to breakfast with a dear friend yesterday and felt a bit of panic over this, and she kindly said, “You aren’t old enough to have an 18 year-old.  You really aren’t.”  I felt better, and then I felt silly.  Yes, yes, it’s all about me, isn’t it?

Still.  18! She’s going to college in the fall! Where did the years go? I remember everything.  It feels like a rare privilege to be given a baby, doesn’t it? And then you get to love and prepare that baby for adulthood.  Doireann is an excellent human being.  I don’t say that because I’m her mother.  She really is a wonderful person.  I even enjoy the lesser developed parts of her character.  It’s why she is who she is, and I’m going to enjoy seeing how those parts are developed.  Frankly, she’ll probably fight it every step of the way, and I’ll hear about it.

When Doireann was young, she was very obnoxious and stubborn.  I’m not one of those mothers who believes that her children can do no wrong.  On the contrary, I know exactly what’s what.  Doireann loved to push buttons and boundaries.  There was, however, one thing she liked more than anything else.  She loved being right.  She was like a little tsar trapped in the body of a toddler.  She was vengeful, too, due to her above average intelligence.  She could plot and carry out plans.  There’s a reason three year-olds should not be able to read.

Suffice it to say, I realized that I could only parent her so much.  Life experience was going to have to offer her another sort of parenting.  This is what I prayed for since she learns empathy experientially.  Enter Thomas.

Thomas is Doireann’s nemesis, and he has been her nemesis since ninth grade.  Doireann loathes him.  I have heard tale upon tale of Thomas’ disgusting personality, ugly face, and sadistic disposition not to mention his misogyny and intellectual snobbishness.  After almost four years of listening to the storied Clash of The Titans Misadventures of Doireann and Thomas, I had a horrible mental image of what Thomas must look like.  Surely, this must be Thomas:

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Scut Farkus Thomas

About two months ago while Doireann was ranting about Thomas once again, I remarked that it must be quite difficult to look at the embodiment of Scut Farkus of “A Christmas Story” every day.  Joking at the time, I noted that if Ralphie eventually beat Scut up, then how was she able to control herself? She stopped.  “What? No, Thomas doesn’t look anything like Scut Farkus.”

“You mean that he doesn’t have yellow eyes and pointy teeth? My gosh, I imagined that he looked something like the devil to be honest.”

“You wanna know what the most horrible human being on Earth looks like? Oh, I’ll show you!”

Well, yes, I wanted to know.  The most horrible human being on Earth? Please show me! She immediately found a photo of him and practically shoved her phone in my face.  “This.  This is Thomas!” she declared with evident hatred.

I was ready for something hideous.  Instead I saw this:

George-Costanza

George Costanza of “Seinfeld”

Thomas looks just like George Costanza.  I wish I were kidding, but I’m not.  He apparently has the personality to match.  I couldn’t control myself.  I covered my face and started laughing.  “Oh my gosh, he’s George Costanza! He’s a schlub! Your nemesis is a schlubby George Costanza which is a redundant statement, I know.”

“Who is George Costanza?!” she asked, confused.

How can I explain “Seinfeld” to my 18 year-old daughter? How can I sum up George Costanza? Well, from how she’s described Thomas, I’d say she’s spent the entirety of her high school career getting to know George Costanza by proxy, and I can’t help but laugh.  I loved “Seinfeld”, but I really hated George Costanza for all the reasons Doireann loathes Thomas.  On Monday night, I finally asked her why she still wanted to punch Thomas in the mouth so badly.  She said:

“He is so vile, Mom, because he thinks he knows everything, and he makes other people feel bad about themselves when they don’t know something.  And he just sits there looking smug all the time.  And his fat, stupid face just annoys me.  He thinks he’s better than everyone else just because he thinks he knows things.  Intellectual snobbishness is wrong, and getting off on being right at other people’s expense isn’t right either.  You have to admit when you’re wrong!”

I listened.  I nodded.  She looked down.  She sighed.  “I know that I used to be like that.  I struggle with that, too, but I’ve seen what it does to people.  It’s wrong.  People don’t learn when someone like that is in the room.  He hurts people, and I see that now.”

Thomas’ job is done.  He no longer serves a purpose.  She learned exactly what I could never teach her, and she will never have to see him again in a few months.  This is one of the primary reasons I am against helicopter parenting.  We, as parents, can’t teach our kids everything that they need to develop in order to become good human beings.  Some character traits are developed out there in the world through adversity, and some character traits are filed and buffed away through adversity.  Doireann needed Thomas.  Thomas may have learned something from knowing Doireann although he would never admit it. What I’ve learned in observing this over the past four years is that there may be people in my own life as well who I don’t like very much, but maybe they are present to teach me something, too.

It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?

 

The Gift of The C-Word

I can be slightly naïve at times.  Well, not naïve.  Optimistic perhaps.  I tend to believe the best about people and circumstances, and, when people behave like absolute asshats, I’m almost always surprised.  It’s as if I did, in fact, just fall off that turnip truck because I was indeed born yesterday; and, there I am lying helpless in the road wondering how I got there.  Oh, right, I was shoved.

I am being tongue-in-cheek because it’s fun.  The very minor incident to which I am not so subtly alluding was annoying but, at the same time, surprising to me.

An anonymous person posted a comment to my blog a few days ago.  He wrote:

You are a cunt!

Classy, right?

Yes, yes, this is a troll, and there is one mantra that we should all follow when it comes to trolls:

Do not feed the trolls!

Trolls know how to take the piss, don’t they? Calling a woman a bitch isn’t so bad.  How many women have been called that and worse for ignoring the clumsy gropes of some drunk guy at a bar? I have.  My girlfriends have.  Accidentally cut someone off in traffic and some angry person will yell, “Bitch!” Women are finally beginning to reclaim that word in order to rob it of its power.  The C-word, on the other hand, feels altogether different, doesn’t it?

Why?

Well, Tina Fey tackled this issue on 30 Rock in the “C-Word” episode when her character Liz Lemon overheard Lutz, one of her writers, call her the dreaded C-word behind her back.  Her response? She wanted to fire him.  Yep.  That’s how most women I know feel about being called the C-word.  We have a visceral response to it, and if we could fire the person who spoke that word over us, then we just might.  Liz Lemon ran to her producer and shouted, “We need to fire Lutz! Fire him!” When she explained her reasons, both Pete, her producer, and Frank, one of the writers, grimaced.  They, too, know of the C-word’s power.  And, why does this word hold so much power? What was the conclusion? It is so powerful because there is nothing that a woman can call a man that is as degrading.  As misogynistic and, well, defiling as the C-word is to women, there is no linguistic match for a man.

My husband and I sat around one night and tried to come up with an equivalent if you can believe that.  We came up with one, but it lacks the punch that the C-word packs.  I think that Tina Fey is right.  This is why trolls love this word so much.  This is why people aiming to shock and hurt women love to use this word.  It degrades and defiles in a way that few other words do.  There are erotica authors who have decided that it’s time to reclaim this word, I’m concluding, to rob it of its powerful punch to the female gut.  They freely use it in their writing.  It’s a jarring read to be sure, but it’s interesting to watch the linguistic evolution of this word.  Where might this word be in another generation? Will it feel as truly disgusting as it does now? Will I want to plug my ears and cry, “Lalalalalala!” when I hear it in 25 years?

Why write a post about the C-word? Firstly, to be frank, it pisses me off that there are people out there who find trolling entertaining.  It’s a complete waste of time, and it can hurt very vulnerable people.  Secondly, I have four daughters, and I’m a woman.  This sort of behavior is not acceptable no matter its form.  I blackholed that comment, but how does one feel empowered after reading something like that? It’s insidious.  That’s why trolling is potent.  Words are infinitely powerful.  The written word, when aimed directly at a person, can carry the weight of an anvil, and that is the take away.  Words can be weapons, or they can be shields.  They can edify and build a person up higher than the highest skyscraper.  They can also destroy a life.  We get to choose.  Isn’t that incredible? How many things in life do you actually get to choose freely?

You always get to choose your words.

That is a brilliant thought.  Many of us are caregivers to very vulnerable people.  We know just how weighty each word that we speak is because we have seen just how destructive other people’s words have been.  I am going to try to pay more attention to my words this year.  That is the gift of the dreaded C-word.  It’s potency inversely teaches us just how powerfully good we could be when we choose the better words instead.

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Incidentally, the brilliant comic The Oatmeal has attempted to rob the awful C-word of its “terribleness” in his wonderfully irreverent and funny comic The Terrible C-Word.  For a good laugh, you simply must read it!

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The Oatmeal’s The Terrible C-Word

 

 

Finally…

I feel like a Who from Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who.  I need to shout, “I am here! I am here!”  There is one word that describes the past month: exhaustion.  This Lupus thing is no joke.  Plain vanilla exhaustion.  All. The. Time.

I think raising teenagers is adding to that sense of exhaustion.  “Oh look, I folded a towel and parented a teenager.  I need to lie down.”  I might say this with a little cheek, but my husband’s recent antics might be adding to the inordinate fatigue.

“Why is there a drunk man in our living room at 1 in the morning?”

“Well, Hank was driving us home from the client dinner.”

“Where is Hank?”

“He got arrested…for DUI.”

“How did you get here…with Paul?”

“The cops dropped us off.  I’m calling Paul a cab.”

“Wait, you let a drunk Hank drive you home?”

“I didn’t know he was drunk.  He looked completely sober.”

“Oh my god…”

Perhaps it’s Milly’s Canine Drama.  Her upper canine has been loose but refusing to come out.  She’s been yanking on that stubborn tooth for days and days and then complaining, “It huuUUUUUuuuuurts!”  Finally, in the car yesterday after picking her up from school, she shouted, “It came out! I can’t find it!” Blood was pooling in her mouth so it sounded more like, “Ih ame ou..I an’t ind it!” And then the crying started because she was bleeding not to mention she couldn’t spit out the blood.  She looked like a little vampire what with all the blood starting to stream down the sides of her mouth.  I was driving while simultaneously trying to find a tissue.  I then spied just what I needed! One of my older girls left a maxi pad in the car for some reason.  I think it fell out of a purse or backpack.  I grabbed it, opened it, and said, “Here! This is perfect! Spit out the blood onto this!” Eadaoin shouted, “Oh, yeah, actually that will work!” Milly looked horrified.  She held it out in front of her like it was a dead animal.  I was highly amused, looking in the rearview mirror to see my daughter with a pad sticking out of her mouth.

Of course, Grace is having terrible migraines again except she is experiencing prosopagnosia with them now.  What a weird thing.  That’s been going on for a week.  We are going to the specialty hospital today for a Toradol injection and quick neurological check.  I also get the feedback from Eadaoin’s neuropsychological profile at the same time! So, do you know what I did? I told my husband that he had to come.  He has never been to any meeting or appointment where Grace is concerned.  Not once.  I put my foot down.  Guess what? He’s coming.  So, he’ll go with Grace while I go to the feedback session.  He gets to meet her neurologist.  Finally.

He also finally saw a psychiatrist and had his first intake last week.  Another ‘finally’.

We are off to the races this morning, and all I want to do is lie down.  I can do it.

Right? Right.  ::whimper::

 

How To Wake Up A Teenager

Like most teens, Eadaoin ignores her alarm clock.  She hits the snooze button several times every morning.  It’s sort of endearing the first few times it happens.  As an adult you see yourself in this.  “Aaaw, look at that.  We’re related.”  After a few months of this, it’s not cute in any way.  It’s just annoying.  “Look at that.  She won’t get up on her own for anything.  Wild horses probably can’t drag her out of bed.  We’re related.”

Well, I don’t have any wild horses around to attempt to drag Eadaoin out of bed, and I’m tired of tromping up the stairs every morning to poke and prod her.  “Eadaoin…Eadaoin…Eadaoin…Eadaoin.  Wake up.  Wake up.  Dear Lord…Is she dead?”

When asked later why she ignores her alarm, she justifies herself with an answer we adults have all used.  “I sleep through it.  I don’t hear it.  I can’t help it.”  What am I going to say to that? I slept through Hurricane Alicia when I was 8 years-old and three ensuing tornadoes! Who am I to criticize?

So, how do you wake up a teenager?

I figured it out.  MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh boy, did I!

Every adolescent I’ve ever met is programmed to one sound.  They’ll hear it a mile away.  “I have a text!”  That sound.  The sound of incoming flirting, socializing, and gossip.  Ah the text notification.

I have used it for evil.  Eadaoin has a very annoying text notification sound.  It’s a fairy from The Legend of Zelda saying, “Hey listen!” It drives Doireann nuts.  “Hey listen! Hey listen! Hey listen!” Every time a text arrives.  “Hey listen!” This morning, I got up and realized that Eadaoin had once again ignored slept through her alarm.  She is supposed to get up at 6 AM.  She was still in bed at 6:35.  I decided to do something different.

I grabbed my cell phone and sent twenty texts to her phone.  “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey…” I could hear her phone from downstairs.  “Hey listen!” repeatedly.  I heard Doireann yell, “Eadaoin! Your phone!!!!” I heard Eadaoin’s feet hit the floor.  She ran down the stairs holding her phone and saw me innocently sipping my coffee at the dining room table.  “Mom! Why?! What…Mom!” “Oh good.  You’re up!”

If looks could kill…

She returned to the table a little later dressed and obviously upset.  “You sent me over twenty texts.  Doireann is mad.”

I just sipped my coffee feeling a bit of Schadenfreude.

“I’m getting up on my own tomorrow.  That is a horrible way to wake up.  I don’t wanna wake up like that again.  I wanna throw my phone into the sun.”

I just looked at her while I sipped my coffee.  My husband looked at me with admiration.  Doireann looked at me like I was evil incarnate.

That’s how you wake up a teenager.

Hooked on A Feeling

Ever since we saw “Guardians of The Galaxy” Milly has been singing songs from the soundtrack particularly Blue Swede’s “Hooked on A Feeling”.  As soon as we get in the car, she grabs my iPod, hooks it up, and selects the song.

Aah yes, the familiar strains of “Hooked on A Feeling”.  I’ve always felt bad for the studio singers, wondering what they looked like standing there singing the opening chorus with such commitment and feeling:

“Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga Chaka-Ooga Ooga-Chaka…”

This song is like Milly’s cup of morning coffee.  She cranks it up as I’m driving her to school, and then she car dances to it.  She doesn’t hide her car dancing in any way.  She looks like she’s having a seizure, flailing around in the front seat.  I have to drive with a straight face, or she’ll think I’m laughing at her.  ASD kids often think this way.  Truth be told, I would be laughing at her a little bit because it’s funny.  She’s hilarious but trying to explain the nuance to her isn’t worth it.  So, I keep it together.  It’s not funny.  Ahem.

The part of this scenario that is a little unsettling to my maternal DNA, however, is the singing.  Milly belts out this song like a drunken bar maid.  Have you listened to the lyrics? I never paid attention.  Lyrics have never been something I really noticed.  Case in point, “Greased Lightning” from the movie “Grease”.  “Grease” was my all-time favorite movie until I saw “Xanadu” at which point that became the best thing I’d ever seen.  I had every song from “Grease” memorized and could sing them on command.  Prancing around the house at six years of age, I would jump on the couch like John Travolta and shout, “The chicks’ll cream, for Greased Lightning!”  When I watched “Grease” at a friend’s house during my senior year of high school, listening to “Greased Lightning” was a revelation and a shock to my system.

“The chicks will…CREAM? Are you kidding me? I sang that when I was in Kindergarten! What the what?! And what’s with Kenickie’s condom breaking in the backseat of his car with Rizzo? This isn’t a kids’ movie!”

Well, “Hooked on A Feeling” isn’t a kids’ song either.  Listen to this!

Lips as sweet as candy
Its taste is on my mind
Girl, you got me thirsty
For another cup o’ wine

And this!

All the good love
When we’re all alone
Keep it up girl
Yeah, you turn me on

It’s a classic pop song full of sexual innuendo, but it sounds so weird coming out of my 11 year-old daughter’s mouth as she does her morning calisthenics car dancing when I drive her to school! I wonder if that’s how my mother felt listening to me sing “Greased Lightning”?

Yesterday, as we were out enjoying what is likely to be one of our last really wonderful autumnal days, Milly had once again decided to be the car DJ.  She was scrolling through all the artists and came across Ginuwine.  I winced.  I honestly can’t remember how Ginuwine got on my iPod, but I knew exactly what song it was.  “Pony”.  The lyrics were suddenly right there.  Oh Lord, let’s not play that song.

“Ginuwine.  That’s Donna’s cousin on ‘Parks and Recreation’.  Can I listen to this song?”

“Uh…well, hmmm.  I think there are….”

And she hit play.  That grinding bass started and then Ginuwine’s singing, “I’m just a bachelor lookin’ for a partner, Someone who knows how to ride without even fallin’ off…”

Eadaoin was in the backseat.  “Why is this song called ‘Pony’?”

“I think that we should find another song.  This song is too sexy for younger ears, Milly.”

“What’s so sexy about it?”

The more I make a big deal out of something, the more she’s going to want it.  So, I have to play it off like it’s nothing.  This is human nature.  I, however, do not want to explain the meaning of this song’s chorus to my daughter!

“If you’re horny, let’s do it.  Ride it, my pony.  My saddle’s waiting.  Come and jump on it!”

I asked myself why, in fact, I had that song? Why?! Then I remembered.  It’s Channing Tatum’s fault.  I went out for a girls’ night to see “Magic Mike”.  Channing danced so…er…nicely to this song that I was inspired to buy it.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  Beyond that, what I knew for certain is that I did not want to be asked: “What does horny mean?” I hate that word for one, and I also…just didn’t feel like it.  She can hold onto her childhood a little longer.  She can be in middle school when she learns what ‘horny’ means.

In the middle of my maternal ruminations, Eadaoin shouted at me.  “Mom! I know what this song means! I know why it’s called ‘Pony’! I’ve figured it out! That’s disgusting!! Mom! How could you? How could you have a song like this on your iPod! Mom!!! Just…MOM!” she said in an obvious shaming tone.

I grinned.  She obviously doesn’t want to know what ‘horny’ really means either.

And I’m so happy about that.  I will wear that badge of shame applied to me by daughter with pride this morning as I take Milly to school and NOT laugh at her as she, once again, car dances and sings her heart out to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on A Feeling”.

I know I’m definitely hooked on a feeling.  I love my girls.

 

So Proud

Our phone just rang.  I didn’t recognize the number.  I decided to screen the call.  I listened to see if I recognized the caller.

“Hello, this is James Anderson calling for Doireann…” (I picked up the phone overcome with curiosity.  Who is James Anderson, and why have I not heard of him?)

“Hello? Yes, hello?”

“Hello? Yes, hello, is Doireann available?”

“May I ask who’s calling?” (I’m very formal when I’m demanding to know what male is calling for my daughter.)

“Oh, of course.  This is James Anderson calling from the U.S. Navy.  I am calling to talk to Doireann about scholarship opportunities available to her through our ROTC program.”

I had to bite my tongue to squelch a guffaw.  The U.S. Navy? Doireann and the U.S. Navy?

Doireann.  My daughter.  Doireann.  In the Navy.  My response:

obama_laughing

They would give her a scholarship not to join.  She would be dishonorably discharged for sheer impertinence and unwillingness to do push-ups or follow basic orders.  They would call us a few weeks into basic training and beg us to take her back much like that scene from “Private Benjamin”.  Or, she would just go AWOL.  Much like that scene from “Private Benjamin”.

Private-Benjamin

 

I kindly took James Anderson’s information and informed him politely that I would pass on his number to Doireann.  I then knocked on Doireann’s bedroom door, cleared my throat, and announced, “Don’t say I don’t love you or that I’ve never done anything nice for you.”  At this point, my other three daughters had followed me up the stairs due to my maniacal laughter.  “Mom, what’s so funny? Who called? What’s going on?”

Doireann looked suspicious.  “Ohmigod.  What? Who called? What…?”

“The Navy.  James Anderson wants you.  Here’s his number,” I said with a smirk.

A moment of shocked silence from everyone followed by uproarious laughter! All the sisters doubled over.  Doireann’s mouth hung open.

“WHAT?! Me?! No!”

“She would be dishonorably discharged! Don’t they know anything?” Eadaoin squawked between laughs.

Grace snorted.

“You would have excellent upper body strength from all the push-ups they would force you to do from all your defiance.  You do hate following orders,” I observed.

“No, I wouldn’t! I wouldn’t do a push-up no matter who told me! That’s sort of the point! I can’t believe the U.S. Navy called here for me.  That’s just…funny,” Doireann laughed.

“He was very polite to me on the phone though.  James Anderson was a well-mannered dude.  I liked him,” I said as I left the room.

“Oh no, Mom.  Navy boys are well-mannered.  They are very polite to mothers,” Doireann emphasized.

I stopped and looked at her. “How do you know that?”

She didn’t answer.  She just walked backwards into her room.

Seriously, how does she know that?