People say I’m thought-provoking

9 Dec

Anna Banana was in rare form yesterday.  She was positively brimming with queries.  She addresses Henry as “sweetie” or “sweets” and I can see her treating him with the same affection and kindness with which her beloved second grade teacher, Mrs. Stevenson, approaches her.  I think “sweets” is Mrs. Stevenson’s special form of endearment.  She is dancing at least 4 days a week preparing for Nutcracker next weekend.  It is a BIG production, starring close to 100 children, but somehow, 8 years old and barely out of pre-ballet, Anna is dancing three different parts.  She is cast as a Christmas angel, a mouse, and a gingerbread girl.  She is positively exhausted every night and puts herself to bed with a book of poems and a CD of Julie Andrews reading them.  Seriously, every night.  I didn’t expect this from her, but how do you know what to expect from a child, who at four, looks right into her grandmother’s eyes and announces:

“People say I’m beautiful.” 

I worried then that she was a Norma Desmond in the making, but now with the flair for poetry and dancing and drawing, well, look out world,  here she comes.

Yesterday I picked her and Wade up from school and she asked me this zinger:

“Mom, when you run into somebody you sent to jail, what do you and he talk about?”

I think I managed to say something like “oh, that never happens” or some other platitude.  I should have told her that I discuss how I kennel police dogs and pit bulls at my house; or how my husband is a green beret; or that I have recently taken an advanced handgun-marksmanship class.  None of which are true, by the way.  I have run into former defendants – usually at the grocery store.  It’s the great equalizer.  Everybody runs out of bread, milk, and garbage bags, even criminals.  They always say “hello, Mrs. Noelke,” and are generally very polite, but I don’t exactly stand around and make idle conversation with them. 

Later on, she told me of her plans to open a facility called “Anna’s Orphanage.”  She explained that it’s really not fair that some children are orphans and don’t have parents.  She wants to give them each a Christmas present to make up for their not having a mom and dad.  And here was the best part – the logistics:

“Mom, where do you get orphans?”

As I was putting some polishing touches on our Christmas tree, she admired its glitter and flair and asked me again if I had any of the family jewels.  She is just dying to get her hands on them. 

the very last question she asked was a good one – a complex, tricky issue: “What about a tattoo that says ‘I love God?’ ”  I said “Well, Anna, I don’t think God likes tattoos (apologies to any and all tattooed readers.  I am merely trying to keep her un-inked until she graduates from high school.  After that, I will give up my attempts to control her style.)

“I know, Mom,” she said, “but this is a tattoo that says something good about GOD.”  as though I didn’t get the dilemma.  I settled for “God would prefer you announce your love for Him in ways besides permanent ink on your skin.”  Like a tee-shirt.  Or good deeds.

She wasn’t quite as entertaining today, or maybe I just didn’t see her as much as she had evening visitation with her dad, but yesterday, she was classic Anna.  Always edgy, always generous, always glittering.  Hopefully not yet tattooed.

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