Children seem to like me. I don’t understand why. Half of the time, I don’t really know what to do with them. I have zero maternal instinct. I was the youngest in my family, and until Valeria came along when I was six, I was the youngest of all my cousins as well. I was never even around a pregnant woman until my cousin’s wife got knocked up (by then, I was in my twenties).
But, fortunately, I have a stellar memory, so I recall exactly what it was like to be a kid, and for this reason, I tend to get along with anyone under the age of 12. They want to stay up late, get cranky if they are tired or hungry or cold or bored, and would love nothing more than to eat sweets and potato chips for dinner. I fully understand all of these impulses.
This is doubly true for Rand, who deep down is 12. Children may like me, but they adore Rand. And vice versa. This was the case with our friend Lisa’s daughter, Lily. I, myself, had always suspected I’d lose my husband to a younger woman (and very likely a redhead). It was just a little sooner than I thought.
But let’s get to how this little British urchin stole my husband’s heart, shall we?
It’s Lisa’s fault. For the record, Lisa is lovely and I should probably forgive her for having such an adorable daughter, but the way I figure it, said adorability is at least half her doing.
I’d met Lisa a few times before, but last November we ended up in Oslo with her and her husband, Jon. And it was a blast. It’s one of those times where your friendship is accelerated because you’re all on a trip together far from home, so even though you barely know eachother, you’re making “Your mom” jokes at the breakfast table.
I suppose I should apologize for those. But seriously, Jon’s mom was asking for it … AMONG OTHER THINGS.
Okay, really, stopping now, because my tendency to insult my friends’ mothers (who I’ve never met) is a blog entry unto itself.
Where was I? Oh, yes – so, after becoming fast friends with Lisa and Jon (and Jon’s mom), we were only too happy to see them again in London, and take them up on their offer to head down to Brighton Beach. Of course, it meant that we’d get to meet Lily.
As I said before, I have zero maternal instinct. When I meet an incredibly cool kid, all I can think is, “There’s no way Rand and I could ever have a kid that cool. So we shouldn’t even bother.” This was precisely the feeling I got when I met Lily. Part of me thought, “Man, kids are the best thing ever”, and then a bigger part of me thought, “No. Most kids are assholes. This kid is the best thing ever.”
Lily took to calling me “Geri”, which I occasionally allow kids and non-native-English speakers to do (Lily only met one of these criteria, but still). “Geraldine” can be a bit of a mouthful. And you know what else is a mouthful? JUST ASK JON’S MOM. [redacted at request of my husband]. She also took to inexplicably calling Rand “Tom”, and so, for the day at least, we were “Tom and Geri.”
We got caught in traffic on the way down to Brighton, so a 45 minute drive took us more than two hours. We were all starving in the end, and one of us understandably started to get a little cranky. Okay, fine – it was me. But I held it together, because I didn’t want to be shown up by a six-year-old, who just occasionally asked when we’d be able to get lunch.
We eventually got to Brighton, and ate some pasta. which put everyone in a better mood.
And I took this picture, of which I am quite proud:
We then walked along the beach at Brighton. Everything was still wet from the rain that had just stopped, and it was cold, but it was clear and sunny. Something about the beach there makes you feel like you are at the edge of the world, and not just the edge of England.
We then strolled along the boardwalk, where Jon was attacked by love. These things happen.
Shortly afterward, we decided to get ice cream. And it was then that the most amazing thing happened. The sort of thing that, if I didn’t have it documented on film, you probably wouldn’t believe. It started with an ice cream cone. Mint chocolate chip, to be precise.
And then, as we were waiting for the light, disaster struck …
But it was as that moment that Lily went from being just another completely awesome kid to a candidate for BEST CHILD EVER. She looked at her fallen ice cream scoop, and she did not scream, or cry, or pout. No. Instead, Lily laughed.
Rand saw the entire thing from across the street, and when we got to him, he was just staring at Lily, his mouth half open. He finally mumbled how he had never seen anything like that in his entire life, and then looked at Lily and said, “I think you might just be one of my favorites.”
It was at that point that my husband picked Lily up and refused to put her down.
Please excuse me. I apparently have something in both my eyes, and I need to beat my uterus back into submission.
Okay … I think I’m good.
No, no I’m not. I just remembered that the next day, Lily asked her mom where “Pretty Geri and Handsome Tom” were, because she missed them. I’m going to go watch videos of temper tantrums for a few hours to remind myself that children aren’t actually like this. I promise to blog more about Brighton on Monday (spoiler: there’s jellied eels!).
In the meantime, I will give $5 to anyone who can tell me what the heck was going on here:
Have a great weekend, folks.
P.S. – I just realized I wrote this entire post and forgot to give credit where credit is due. Well done, Lisa.