How I know he’s mine:
Jane: Cinder? Could you take out the recycling when your game’s over?
Cinder: Is it urgent?
Jane: Well… it’s not urgent right now, but the cupboard’s stuffed full and barely closing, and so next time someone opens it, all the recycling will flow out, screaming, “Freedom! Freedom!” and make a mess on the floor and…
Cinder: So how about, as soon as I hear it screaming, I take it out?
Jane: Ok. Works for me.
Cinder: Just so we understand each other—you’ll scream “Freedom! Freedom!” if you’re the one who opens the cupboard?
Cinder: But you won’t do it on purpose. Only if you actually have to try to stuff something else in there.
Cinder: Ok. Works for me.
How I know she’s mine:
Flora: I can’t believe this. I! Can’t! Believe! This! The only likeable character in the book, and they kill him off—and there’s like a third of the book to go! What the hell? Who does that? What’s wrong with this writer? I am never, ever, EVER reading anything by this jerk again!
Jane: Where are you going?
Flora: I’m going to rewrite this chapter the way it should have been written!
I don’t know where the hell he came from:
Ender: I! Love! Boogers! I! Love! My! Boogers! I! Love! Your! Boogers! I! Love! Everyone’s! Boogers! Sooooooo! Muuuuuuuch!
How they know they’re mine (even though they’re not):
Flora: He’s so disgusting.
Jane: It could be worse. When Cinder was his age? He used to feed you his boogers.
Flora: Jeezus, Mom, seriously? And you let him? What’s wrong with you?
Cinder: She didn’t let me. I mostly did it when she wasn’t looking. And only if you were awake.
Flora: That’s supposed to make me feel better?
Cinder: Well, at least I never puked on you, Ms Lazy Esophagus!
Flora: I didn’t… Mom? Did I puke on Cinder?
Jane: Yes. Kind of incessantly. Don’t feel bad. It’s very common. And he peed in your ear. So, you know. It all balances out.
Flora: Children are really disgusting. Like, the most disgusting thing ever. And that’s not even counting the bloody birthing part.
Jane: Pretty much.
Flora: But you’re happy you had us?
Jane: There is no meaning or purpose to my life without you.
I’ve read Joan Didion’s Blue Nights last week, and it almost killed me. Listen:
“When we talk about mortality we are talking about our children.
… Once she was born I was never not afraid.”
“A question: if we and our children could in fact see the other clear would the fear go away? Would the fear go away for both of us, or would the fear go away only for me?”
““You have your wonderful memories,” people would say later, as if memories were solace. Memories are not. Memories are by definition of times past, things gone. … Memories are what you no longer want to remember.”
“I no longer want reminders of what was, what got broken, what got lost, what got wasted.
In theory these mementos serve to bring back the moment.
In fact they serve only make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here.”
“I do not know many people who think they have succeeded as parents. Those who do tend to cite the markers that indicate (their own) status in the world: the Standford degree, the Harvard MBA, the summer with the white-shoed law firm. Those of us less inclined to compliment ourselves on our parenting skills, in other words, most of us, recite rosaries of our failures, our neglects, our derelictions and delinquencies.”
“I tell you this true story just to prove that I can.”
I am changed.
They are loved.
They know they are loved.
Ender: Mooom! Hug! Kiss!
Cinder: Don’t do it, Mom! He was eating boogers!
Ender: I was not! I was only pretending. I was feeding them to Maggie.
Flora: Well, at least it wasn’t me.
Ender: Next time, I will share… My! Boogers! With! Yooooooooouuuuuuu!
Cinder: That’s my little bro! High-five, man!
Flora: Groooooosss! Moooooom!
Love. Disgusting, innit? 😉
PS Of course he took out the recycling. Of course.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: There is such a thing as loving nature too much, or, more proof that children are disgusting.