Poor Matthew – suffering his first rejection, his first broken heart at the ripe old age of four.
So, there’s this couple at church who I refer to as “Imitation Scott and Amy” – they look like our friends Scott and Amy, you see, but they are the much less attractive, not nearly as friendly version. We’ll call them ISA for short. ISA have two children – a girl probably four and a boy under two. The ISA offspring are very cute little people – not nearly as attractive as the REAL Scott and Amy offspring, mind you – but like the real ones, they have the blondest, blondest hair I’ve ever seen. (They actually remind me of Mike’s baby/little boy pictures – he was a total tow-head).
One morning, after Mass, we went downstairs for coffee and donuts. I ended up in line behind Imitation Amy who was holding the little boy. I guess because of her resemblance to my friend Amy, I felt like I already knew her and was quite comfortable. I leaned around and said, “you have the most stinkin’ cute kids I’ve ever seen.” (Yes, that was my ‘be my friend’ pick-up line. Smooth, huh?) Unfortunately, because of my feeling so at ease, I started saying this without really thinking it through and as soon as the word “stinkin’” escaped my lips, I got stuck – I was stranded in a mud pit of awkwardness with the realization, oh, right. Snap. She doesn’t actually know me and I just said stinkin’ and I’m about to wrap it up in a phrase referring to her children. So, what I.A. heard was, You have the most stinkin’…………………………….cute kids I’ve ever seen.” She gave me a tight lipped smile, said a quiet thank you and turned back around. Fine! Well, I’d choose Real Amy over you any day, you fraud!!
This past Sunday, we sat in the vestibule area at church – they have a few rows of chairs set up for “kids who make a little too much joyful noise unto the Lord” (or something like that). We ended up sitting behind ISA and offspring. I made the very judgmental and non-Christian observation that Imitation Scott always chews gum in church – which is the opposite of classy, if you ask me (chewing gum in church, not chewing gum in general…I chew gum ALL the time…not that that makes it classy, it’s just not in the same category as chewing gum in church). Anyway, I.S. ended up taking his gum-smacking self to the back where he wandered around with the Little Boy. Little Girl stayed in the row with her mom and was busy coloring. One of her crayons fell on to the floor and rolled back towards us. I gestured to it, indicating to Matthew that he should pick it up and give it to her. He vehemently shook his head and whispered, “No, how ‘bout you do it?” I ignored him, knowing that eventually he would do it. Sure enough, after a moment, he picked up the crayon and shyly past it to Little Girl. She took it from him without a glimmer of appreciation or acknowledgment.
A little while later, we noticed a card on the floor under her chair, I gestured to it to Matthew and he got down on his hands and knees to retrieve it. It looked like a hotel room key card, but on closer inspection, we saw that it was a “Cirque de Soleil” VIP Room card. So, now I’m jealous of these people too! (Cirque is in town and I would LOVE to go, but it just ain’t happenin’).
Now, let me digress for a moment – my children wear ID bracelets. You know, the old school silver rectangular ones. I have been asked by SO many people “what’s up with those bracelets?” “Are they for food allergies?” I’m sorry, but I thought it was totally normal to brand your children. I wore won for the first several years of my life (OK, OK, I’ll admit it…I took it off for the first time a week ago). Anyway, until the boys really know their stuff – name, address, phone number, our cell phone numbers, etc. I think it’s a good thing for them to have.
So, here we are, in church with Matthew holding on to ISA’s Cirque de Soleil card. I was wondering what he was doing just holding on to it when I noticed he was busy with his ID bracelet. He flipped it over so his stats were showing. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, and I’m not even kidding, this is the direct quote, ‘cuz how could I ever forget this, “Now, she can see my phone number!” My son was totally making moves, trying to slip a girl his digits during church! Before I realized what he was doing, instead of handing the card to her over the chairs, he walked around our row and almost into their row. He stood there for a minute just holding out his wrist, slowly rotating the bracelet so she could see all the info. He grinned from ear to ear and pointed to his bracelet in a “hey baby, check this out” kind of a way. Eventually he handed the card over to her. Completely stone-faced Little Girl took the card from Matthew and then turned her back. This was beyond playing hard-to-get, this was just plain cold.
My poor, wounded, broken-hearted sensitive boy returned to me with a defeated shuffle. Trampled. Little Girl had stomped all over his heart. His eyes welling up in tears, he said, “She didn’t even say thank you.”
I no longer think they’re the stinkin’ cutest kids I’ve ever seen. Now, they’re just plain stinkin’.