Perfect in Every Way

Merry Christmas!!

Here is an old story from 2001 when Elder was four years old…

The other night, I was saying prayers with Elder — a special prayer asking God for Elder to have good dreams.  I had just finished when Elder tacked on, “And help so-and-so be a better person.”

So, I quickly added, “And help Elder be a better person, too.”

“No,” he rebuked.  “No.  I’m already a better person.”

“But, Elder, we can all be better people.  Mommy can be a better person.  Daddy can be a better person.  And you can be a better person.”

“No,” he denied.  “See, I was born a special baby, and I’ve already figured out how to be nice.  So, I don’t have to be a better person.”

Having no luck in convincing the child that he could stand some improvement, I ended the prayer and told him to go to sleep.  Four years old and already perfect, where did the rest of us go so wrong?

Actually, now that I consider it, I’m nigh on perfect myself, so I guess my real question is…

Where did you all go so wrong?

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Angela’s Secrets

So, a few months ago, my husband revealed the recipe for my delicious, rave-worthy lemon poppy seed muffins. (Secret Family Recipe.)

Then, a few weeks ago, at a Thanksgiving family dinner…

“Mmmm,” my sister murmured around a bite of my pumpkin cheesecake pie. “How did you make the graham cracker crust? It’s really good.”

I just stared at her, my lips pressed into a thin straight line.

Eyes flashing with humor at my expense, she grinned. “Betty Crocker?”

Still cranky, I admitted, “Keebler.” Then I defended myself, “The recipe says ‘prepared graham cracker crust.’ I just followed the directions.”

I don’t know how Victoria has managed all these years, because obviously I can’t keep a secret.

I’m Getting Smarter

Elder is a programmer.

Apparently, according to a cousin who is a fellow programmer, he thinks like a programmer.

Which just explains almost everything.

Because I don’t really think like a programmer.

But the other day, Elder spent a trip home from a basketball game relaying a stream of information about his tech class. And, at one point, he must have goaded me into somewhat defending my intelligence because I drolly announced, “Yeah, I did okay in my programming class, too, Elder.”

Silence.

Then a sideways glance.

Then, “I didn’t know you took a programming class.”

In a voice that reeked of belated respect and moral confusion.

Then he discovered that I had taken the class during the days of “run DOS run,” and he regaled me with all the advances made in the science in the last twenty years.

And I listened, because, really, I had asked for it. I even grasped a significant portion.

Never mind that the extent of my skills was demonstrated by a triangular Christmas tree made of X’s and printed noisily on perforated paper. And Elder had helped his teacher build a web page then rigged the system to show an accelerated amount of “clicks” on the page.

For a moment, we were both programmers.

But only for a moment.

Then I was a mom and he was a teenage son and we were arguing over my incessant need to remind him to “drive safely” whenever he heads toward his car.

Just in case you thought that moment of unity was a sign of the world coming to a glorious end, well, it wasn’t.

The world spins on.

But I’m a little smarter for this rotation than I was the last.

Tears of a Vulcan

Over the holiday weekend, I was again trapped in our truck with Younger and my husband and their shared warped humor.

“I was watching Star Trek the other day,” Younger announced, not too long into the drive. “And, at one point, when Spock was crying, the closed captioning read ‘sobbing mathematically.’ ” My husband burst into laughter. “Seriously,” Younger assured us. “I have the pictures.”

And so they launched into an exchange of quoted movie lines and comedian routines, bits and pieces that earned great jocularity and fist bumps in the male members of our small party but left the lone female staring blankly into the darkness beyond the windows.

“Mom,” Younger ventured after several minutes, laughter still in his voice. “You doing okay?”

“I think she’s quietly sobbing,” my husband responded.

“Mathematically,” Younger tacked on, right on cue.

Pushed a bit too far, I, over my husband’s guffaws, replied smartly, “If I’m ever sobbing mathematically, you need to take me directly to a hospital.”

Undaunted, Younger questioned, “Can you sob grammatically?”

We were only fifteen minutes into an hour and a half drive. Even a Vulcan would have been in tears.

Mathematically.