Monday, January 5, 2009

From Generation to Generation

Monkeyboy brought a tear to my eye the other day. We were scheduled to go to a neighbor's New Year's open house at noon.

At about 11:00 am the wonderful man who is the leader of MiDC's Tuesday afternoon chess club at the public library (and a friend and mentor to me since we served together on our synagogue's board) called. Monkeyboy answered. I was out and RFB was in the shower. Mr. F. was calling to invite Brady to come with his family to a 12:10 pm theater production of Les Miz. His grandson's friend had turned up sick at the last minute and the F's had an extra ticket.

Monkeyboy explained that he didn't think he could go because of the open house, but that he'd ask his mom as soon as she got out of the shower. (I was out doing errands.)

I called home from the grocery store (Have the birds eaten up the suet? Should I buy more suet cakes? "Very Berry" or "Woodpecker's Delight"?)

Both RFB and MiDC got on. RFB and I heard about the invitation together. I probed a little.

"You were right to warn Mr. F. about the conflicting engagement, but if you had no other considerations, which would you prefer to do?"

(He's already learned that you're not supposed to cancel an existing social engagement if something better comes along, but I was prepared to offer a parental dispensation from this rule of etiquette.)

"I'd rather do both," came the typical 11-year-old response.

Before I could get a word in, he continued, "But you can't put your tush in two places, so I think I should go to the open house."

My grandmother used to say, in Yiddish:

"Ich ken nisht tanzen bai tzvei chasanas mit ein tuchas"
Which means: I can't dance at two weddings with one behind.

(I just looked up the phrase and English translation on Google to get them exactly right. Ain't the Internet cool?!)

I speak only enough Yiddish to swear, so Monkeyboy has heard (and was repeating) his great-grandmother's age-old wisdom as filtered through my imperfect recollection. But he got the point.

"Whoo-boy pal, I'm proud of you," said I. "You're a real mensch. And if there's a heaven, Bubbye's smiling down on us right now."

I waited 'til after I got my kiss goodbye and rung off before I let myself tear up.

I'm doing it again, right now. *

*By way of full disclosure, I should acknowledge here that I also cried at Rhoda's wedding.


mielikki said...

that is the best thing ever, when the children reflect what good things we've somehow managed to teach tem. I think that MiDC is going to grow into an exceptional young man.

laura b. said...

Your little MiDC is surely growing up with all the good stuff fully loaded and ready to go.

Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

I'm kvelling!

Churlita said...

He sure is a sweet boy. I love that your grandmother's quotes are being passed down...I bet she would too.

Bubblewench said...

You've got a good kid there... Welcome back, I was JUST thinking about you the otehr day wondering how your holidays went.

Happy New Year!