January 4th, 2008
A few days ago, when I went to pick up Punksin from school, I ran into one of my favorite kids.
We all know it happens. There are kids who are okay. Kids you don’t even notice. Kids that you think are okay but their parents are smarmy assholes. Kids you don’t like so much but their parents are cool and then you’re wishing you could get together with the parents without the evil spawn being a part of it.
This little girl is, to me, the most precious thing in the damn school after my own daughter. She – I’ll call her Chloe – is just so sweet. She is younger than Punksin and she is so dainty, but not in a prissy annoying way, just in a really cute I-am-such-a-little-girl kind of way. Once I was outside talking to her mom and she and Punksin were running around the school’s lawn and watching Chloe run was a lesson in self-restraint: she epitomizes Tiptoe Through The Tulips. You just want to crack up with laughter and at the same time grab her and hug her to pieces. She is, in a word, adorable.
But – and this is a great but – I also really like her mom. We’ve been to breakfast once, and we’re constantly yakking for hours in front of the school and in the school hallway, and I just really like her. You have no idea: for me, meeting other moms is like dating them: you meet, you go out or meet up for a playdate, and sometimes the spark is there, and sometimes it ain’t. Most of the time for me, it ain’t. There are women who are okay, of course, women you can tolerate because they’re mothers of your kids’ friends, but you realize that if it weren’t for the kids, the two of you wouldn’t have a goddamn thing to talk about. Not necessarily that you don’t like them or that there’s anything wrong with them, but they’re just, as the lingo goes, not your type.
This is part of what sucks about motherhood. You are now forced to make nice with people you don’t necessarily want to spend more than 2 seconds with. You’re okay with “Good morning”, “Happy New Year” and “Nice day outside, huh?” but because of your kids, you now have to find ways to stretch all of the aforementioned comments into a friggin’ 3-hour long conversation while your offspring, who are completely oblivious, play themselves into a state of demented silliness.
So it is really nice – and really rare – that this mother is someone whom I would actually like even if she and I did not have kids. And then I adore her daughter too? It’s like hitting the damn jackpot!
So a few days ago, I go to pick up Punksin and there is Chloe, gleefully smiling while being carried by her dad. I stopped to say hello. Chloe was in a state of unusual excitement; she wasn’t even looking at me, just grinning at the world in general. I thought it was because she was with Daddy, but then she announced:
“I’m wearing underwear!”
It was all I could do not to collapse with laughter. I did think of chiming in that I was wearing underwear, but realized that this might be a tad more information than Chloe’s dad needed to hear. I mean, he probably assumed I was wearing underwear but really wasn’t expecting on-site verification of the fact. And then what if Chloe and I were swapping underwear stories and she wanted to see my underwear? They weren’t even that nice! Wait a minute – had I even showered yet?
I decided it would be best to keep the focus squarely on Chloe’s underwear. Her underwear was like neutral territory; my underwear was like flying into Iraqi airspace: there was the potential for a massive fuckup.
Because I know that Chloe, like my own Punksin, has fallen captive to the cult of Disney, I asked her if it was princess underwear.
“Yes!” she replied with what was by now an almost manic grin.
Good for her. For the record, if anyone wants to let me know that they are wearing underwear, you go right ahead. Maybe you just bought some new stuff from Victoria’s Secret. Maybe you’re just happy you remembered to put on underwear this morning. I will not judge you. I will be happy for you. I’ll probably move slowly away from you, but I’ll be happy.