Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Circle It

The other day was Lana's teacher's birthday. Marcia Gunnarson is a favorite of ours. She taught Mae first grade as well and, along with being a terrific and inventive teacher, she is a wonderful mix of sweetness and steel. She's in her sixties, she has long iron-hued hair, she's raised four (count 'em, four) kids, she hikes for miles on the weekends and is a bitchin' gardener. All that and she manages to educate twenty six-year-olds, day in and day out. That alone would strike me down.

Lana made a birthday card for Marcia. It read: "Happy birthday Mrs. Gunnarson! [Then, to emphasize her message, in letters ranging in size from big to little] happy BIRTHDAY! Are you turning 63? Yes or no. Circle it." Marcia, of course, was to circle the answer, revealing to all the world, or at least to Lana, her age. Were she someone else, really almost anyone else, I would have censored the card. But Marcia isn't mired in vanity like some people I could mention (okay, me) so I thought she might get a kick out of it.

Ben and I, perusing the missive on the birthday morning, chuckled over our coffee.

"You want some smoothie?" I asked as I pulled the frozen berries from the freezer. "Yes or no?" Then, gritting my teeth and growling, "Circle it!"

It's very Lana, this demanding precision, particularly in combination with a letter of love. If she loves you, watch out, the demands are sure to follow.

Long ago, Ben starting calling me a schnauzer. As in, I'd nudge him and nose him until whatever it was I wanted was achieved. I can have a laser focus when I fix my sights on something, be it a weekend away, or, say, adopting a child from a foreign land. Lana is a baby schnauzer. She, too, when she's excited about something is unstoppable. I've overheard many play-dates that go something like this:

"You're the baby and I'm the momma. I need to go to work and so the babysitter is going to come - she's a teenager and you don't like her. Okay, cry!"

I can imagine her at thirty, laying down the gauntlet for her boyfriend, much as I did with Ben when I was that age.

"Do you want to marry me? Yes or no? Circle it!"

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