A Happy Family

>> Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We bought the girls a Barney video -- mostly so we could hear them sing the I Love You song over and over. Hearing it makes us feel good.

I love you, you love me. We’re a happy family...

Magically, our doubts dissolve. Our eyes glaze over. We’re a happy family, right? Right?!

With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. Won’t you say you love me, too?

Come on girls, say it. Tell me you love me!

Ah, yes. Gotta love the not-so-subtle manipulation to love one’s family without question. It’s very much in line with the current trend of positive thinking. If you think everything is fine, then it will be. Right?

Perhaps if we burn this positive family message into their subconscious, they’ll believe it -- even when they hate me someday for not letting them pierce their tongues, or drive motorcycles, or date white rappers.

Yes, just as Elizabeth is about to run away with Assmaster J. to be a roady with his band, Fuckasm, she opens the birthday card I gave her with a picture of Barney on it. She doesn’t understand at first. The card is something you give a toddler -- not a full-grown woman of 15. But soon she hears a little tune burble up from the back of her mind...

I love you, you love me...

“Wait a minute, Assmaster...” she says, stuffing her belongings between the crack pipes and bongs in his leather backpack.

We’re a happy family...

She glances back through the window at me. By this time, I have found religion out of sheer desperation. Rocking back and forth and holding a rosary, I pray to Buddha and chant something in Arabic that loosely translates into “keep my baby home, keep my baby home...”

With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you...

Happy, purple childhood memories flood to the surface. She sees us painting together, splashing each other in the ocean, baking muffins. “Maybe I should just stay home and go to college...” she wonders.

Won’t you say you love me, too?

Finally, she pushes Assmaster aside, bursts through the front door and runs to me saying, “I love you, Mom! We’re a happy family! Wanna make muffins?” We cry. We hug. All is well.

Assmaster spray-paints Butt-munching Assholes (the name of his latest album) on our garage door before leaving. But that’s OK. With our arms around each other, Lizzy and I wave goodbye to him from the doorway as he flips us off and speeds away.

“Boy, you really gave me a scare that time, Lizzy,” I say and tickle her. "Mom," she giggles. Later, as we bake muffins, I notice the Barney card on the counter. I give it a double-take because -- did I see what I think I saw? Barney winked at me.

I wink back and smile because I know it wasn't Buddha, or Allah, or God that brought my baby back.

Thanks, Barney.

We are, indeed, a happy family.

(I grabbed this photo from Masterpiece Pumpkins.)

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