Goomommy & Goodaddy brought these uber-cool-masks home from their UK trip, and Sara & Kelly were thrilled. Princess Kate is loved in this house, and for everyone who says, “I don’t see why she’s such a big deal”, let me offer this assumption: these naysayers are not raising daughters in today’s world. Look for a hero. Look hard. Look harder. Girls needing role models…GO. Nothing? You see my point. It’s been said in this house more than once, “Princess Kate would never eat with her mouth open.” “Princess Kate would not interrupt her Mother when she’s on the phone.” “Princess Kate would never trap her cat under a laundry basket in a closet while playing detective and then forget she was there for 3 hours.”
I had all sorts of things to tell you tonight. My “get the best out of your consignment shopping” guidelines. Funny stories leading up to our 10 year anniversary (on Saturday, Greg gets knighted for surviving 10 years with me…or vice versa…hard to say). But as luck would have it, today had it’s own plans, in what we are now calling, “The Pepper Picking Incident”.
It started with me cheerfully waiting in the lobby at the school bell, only to be met by 2 girls in fits of tears. Maudlin, drawn out, we had to sit on a bench to find our emotional center kind of tears. Sara’s mishap involved a scheduling change that caused her to miss Science Lab. THE HORROR. If Sara misses PE, recess, and/or Science Lab, the internal, nebulous structure which holds her world together collapses. We’re working on mental toughness and coping skills, but no Special Needs kid earns those badges overnight. Patience (and an amazing Child Psychologist), are virtues. We ran into her teacher, and after a chat, she popped right back into Sara-mode. This quick turnaround was partly due to the fact that Kelly’s drama was unfolding before us, and she was simply relieved she wasn’t….KELLY.
As it turns out, Kelly PICKED PEPPERS during recess. Our school has a beautifully maintained outdoor lab where many things grow. A small stream and fish pond run along the edge. It’s dreamy. It also grows veggies for the cafeteria, which obviously, and quite clearly communicated to the students, are NOT to be picked. No picking. Nada the picking. Pas de PICK. If you are told to pick, then by all means, pick away, but in all other circumstances, there is to be none of the picking. And certainly never, ever, under any circumstances, should you pick EIGHT. Was she going for some kind of harvesting record? 8 peppers? Really? For our Monty Python readers, “Count thee not to three, and EIGHT, is RIGHT OUT!” Girlfriends, my little farmer picked that plant clean. Peter Piper ain’t got nothin’ on Farmer Kell-Kell. This girl was out to make some SOUP.
When she confessed, through muffled tears and sobs, I felt like I was in some kind of after-school special where we learn a lesson about obeying our teachers via an odd plot involving forbidden fruit (or vegetables, as is the case). The day took on a surreal quality which personifed the beautifully flawed perfection of childhood. I might have had an inappropriate response, which is to say I laughed until tears came out of my eyes. Really? Really. Why on earth would she have so boldly broken the rules? WHY?!
And then panic set in. Kelly wasn’t alone. Kelly did this with a gang. Kelly was either influenced, or God forbid, was the leader of the Jets. Kelly is going to turn 13 and get caught smoking behind the movie theater. And before you say I’m the one being maudlin, this is the kid who nonchalantly tossed her blond locks on her way into 1st grade and said, “Don’t worry Momma. I’ll only cheat if I have no other choice.” WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?! WHAAAAATTTT???!?!!!!!
I stopped laughing immediately, called Greg, and made her tell her FATHER what she did. He doesn’t seem to think a pepper picker becomes a curfew-breaking sneaking-outer, but I’m older than Greg. My friends have high school kids. I’m hearing the tales, people, and they aren’t pretty. You got to nip this vegetable-picking stuff in the bud. Literally and figuratively. For our Seinfeld fans, “No soup for you!”
Over snacks, we had a talk about owning our mistakes (after a heated debate between Sara and I about a fictitious pair of orange shoes I’m sure I need and Sara’s sure will be hideous, and no one needs. Sara might be right…). I quickly came to the end of myself:
Momma: Kelly, what I’m trying to say, is that when you do something you KNOW you’re not supposed to do, you…you aren’t…um…
Sara: You aren’t showing moral courage Kelly.
Momma: Sara! That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. Moral courage! Yes. Sara, please share with Kelly the meaning of moral courage.
Sara: It means when someone’s hurt, you tell them you feel their pain.
Momma: That’s empathy.
Sara: EMPATHY. Right. Kelly. Moral courage. It’s….that other thing.
Momma: It means when you see someone doing something wrong, even if you think it’s cool, you don’t DO IT. And you have the good sense to not break rules and become a bad influence yourself.
Sara: Exactly. What Momma said. And man Kelly! What are they going to put in the soup? There are no peppers for soup now! You know how Mommy feels about soup.
Momma: I love a good soup. Kate Middleton wouldn’t have picked those peppers.
[Joint silence while the cast and crew ponder the magnificent beauty and perfect manners of Kate Middleton.]
Sara: So true Momma. So true. Kate Middleton is no pepper picker.