this column, two sisters, along with friends, share
the joys of Larchmont motherhood through E-mail.
by Val Estabrook
Send To: Kim
Got to tell you bout this morning’s conversation
before losing more brain cells and forgetting everything
by the time I see you. NEWS FLASH…we’re
a bilingual family. We speak English to the outside
world and ‘Eng’ within our abode. For example…yesterday
AM begins without words. Spoon, bowl, glass of OJ and
incomplete homework neatly laid out w/sharpened pencil
and half a napkin (I’ve taken to ripping paper
napkins in half…they go further and the kids don’t
use them anyway.) Here is our conversation, word for
word, complete w/ (translation):
James,” I sing out, “healthy!”
(“James, you’ve eaten
sugar cereals for three days running. Pick out something
healthy to eat.”)
“Pop Tart,” he responds dangling the toaster
by its electric cord.
(“Pop Tarts offer both vitamin
rich fruit and high fiber bread, Mom.”)
“Blueberry?” I offer.
(“While I’ll accept
fruit and toast in the guise of a pop tart, we must
draw the line at the strawberry tart with frosting!”)
(“I cannot possibly eat
the blueberry Pop Tart.”)
(“I must hold firm, my darling.
I am however comfortable with Wheaties as an alternative.”)
“Fine. Ed, Mom.”
(“I can see your point,
Mother. And while I pour my fortified breakfast, please
turn on the television and I’ll flip to the Ed,
Ed & Eddy show.”)
(“Sweetie, you love that
show don’t you? Perhaps you’ve forgotten
your promise, made just last night, to complete those
last two math problems this AM?”)
“Friday” James says through Wheaties and
(“Perhaps I misspoke. True,
I did not complete the assignment. However it is not
due for three more days.”)
“New one!” I shout.
(“In that case, I’ll
be happy to turn on the three Eddie’s show. I
too love this production. Look! It’s a new episode.”)
“Face! Hair! Teeth!”
(“But let’s keep ourselves
moving, shall we? During this commercial break, James,
run up and clean that handsome face.”)
(“Mama, I washed my face
yesterday. However, while this is not my priority as
a thirteen-year-old adolescent, I respect your interest
in my health and well-being. I’m off!”)
“He rises.” I toast Kyle with my gallon
(“Good morning, Kyle. Your
wide-eyed, cheerful attitude is so different from the
typical 17 year olds I’ve been reading about.
How about some cereal and juice?”)
(“And good morning to you,
Mamacita. Thank you for the kind offer, but we are running
late. May I please have the car keys? I’ll be
sure to eat a well balanced breakfast at the MHS cafeteria
before classes…want to be at my best!”)
“Casual day?” I’m stunned to see Joe
ready to pour coffee directly from the French press
into his mouth.
(“And here’s your
father, looking very sexy in his red w/ black Scotty
puppies print flannel night shirt.”)
“Gmhmphlnsss…” he gurgles.
(“You’re so funny,
darling. A delight! Actually I’m catching a later
train, but first I must have a cup of your delicious
(“Mater et Pater! We’ll
be late for school if we don’t leave immediately.
We realize that meaningful time for just the two of
you is elusive at best, but just know that we truly
appreciate your sacrifices and we will do our best to
make you proud today.”)
PS: Want to meet @ Sherwood’s later? Feel like
Look for my sister Kim's response
in future Dear_Sis columns. Share your experiences with
me by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Larchmont artist Sue Girardi
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