Friday, October 19, 2012

Some day...

I don't care how humble you are, when someone compliments your kid it is a blessing, and an affirmation that you (and I) might be doing something right in a world that is seemingly filled with wrong. Yesterday, I picked Anna, my tween, up from an after-school art class. Actually, by the way the girls are talking, it's an art therapy/scrapbooking class (which, thank God, I don't have to teach). The girls were upstairs getting their soccer gear on, because yes, soccer season is still in full swing and, yes, practices and games continue to rule my life like a colicky baby rules a mother's nights. So they were upstairs donning their stinky-ass shin guards and cleats (which will be summarily burned after the season is over) and us moms were downstairs chit-chatting with the art teacher.

I was looking at Anna's creation, a photo negative of her (the 'fro looked amazing, btw) with giant white wings spreading like milk behind her back. Against the black background of the negative, they were fantastical. Just so noble, and so fitting, here was my angel, my true angel. Not a Precious Moments figurine, mind you. No blonde head encircled by a halo. No white robe and big blue eyes and tiny little wings. Nope, that little Aryan angel was nowhere to be found in Anna's rendition. If anything, the portrait/collage was a little sinister, made more so by the one word she had scrawled above her head using a silver pen: Unleashed.

Unleashed, indeed. She has been unleashing for the past decade! I have watched, with amusement and some concern, this astonishingly beautiful girl transform from a stubborn, ragingly independent toddler (her catch phrase was always "by myself!")to a hyper-intelligent, moody third-grader to what we have a now; a tall, athletic powerhouse with an amazing smile and too much going on in her head. The art teacher has noticed.

"I just have to tell you, your daughter is an amazing person," she said. I wanted to say "I know" but thought that might be taken the wrong way. So, I said simply, "Thank you."

"I'm serious," she continued. "She is so intuitive. It's a little scary. She knows people before they know themselves. And she is so kind to her friends. It's like she knows they need the kindness more than her."

I thankfully did not actually cry at this last line. I just looked down at her monumental angel collage and wondered when had I turned into such a f***ing sap. I thanked her for saying so and pretended to be interested in a glue stick on the table while I spoke. Eye contact would mean tears.

"It's so hard, you know," I said. "You have this perfect person, you raise her up in a bubble basically, trying to instill good values and kindness and confidence. And she's perfect, at least to me. And then, you send her out into the world and you just don't know how it's gonna go. Somebody goes and f***ks up your perfect person and I just wonder if she'll still come home with a smile on her face and the world at her fingers."

Clearly, Anna has bigger plans than mine. A smile on her face, nah-ah, this girl's got wings. I sometimes see clear into the horizon of her future and she is so strong and so inspiring and so goddman funny! At least, at least she has my humor (or some form of it). That was made clear in the car, after art, when the conversation was dominated by fart jokes and giggles. The angel fell to earth thanks to a little bathroom humor.

I did notice something, though, before we left the teacher's very spiritual home. On the way to the car, the art teacher's son, a handsome kid with an honest face, about 18, came running out of the house with a small green sweatshirt in his hand.

"Wait, somebody left this," he said. The sweatshirt was Anna's. She ran to the meet him in the middle of the yard, saying,"Oh, that mine. Thanks!" Flashed him a smile and grabbed the sweatshirt.

I swear to God, she looked like a woman then. The boy, at least to my eyes, seemed struck and stood on the lawn watching her run back to the car. I was looking at him looking at her.

Angel, indeed. Killer angel. At least for that moment, he didn't have a chance. None of us do, not with her.


  1. Hi Nichole,

    Sounds like a fun and exciting moment. I remember when I was younger people were complementing me all the time and my mom was floored and loved me more for it. On a side note, this Saturday is my birthday and I will be turning 33 (I will be spending it somewhere special).

    Hope all is well.

    Jon Swartz

  2. Jon, Happy Belated Birthday. I am working on a new blog right now and you will see why I didn't get to wish you one sooner. Hope is was a fabulous day, at 33 no less, you're just a pup still!

  3. Thanks for the belated birthday wishes. I spent it at the "we own a theatre" benefit gala at the Colonial and everyone wished me a happy birthday. I got a small cupcake from Mary's Carrot Cake and it was great (I am not a big carrot cake fan, but Mary's makes good stuff). On a side note, I have been seeking all kinds of commercials, trailers for a new movie coming out called "This is 40" which seems like it was made just for me (it is being advertised as the sequel to Knocked Up) as it seems to be preparing me for the fact that 40 is a dangerous age and it is coming up fast.

    Hope all is well,

    Jon Swartz