A quick wit and keen eye

Have you ever been involved in a verbal confrontation and, after it was settled, thought about the perfect comeback? Of course, we don’t ever do that because that would be stupid. If we counter with the best comeback one day or even one hour after said confrontation, that person would now think you were even more inept than before. Not to mention, “crazy.” I’m the worst at comebacks. But afterwards, I. AM. AWESOME. I keep these little snappy retorts on file just in case the need to use them in the future ever arises.

Let me get to the point. My 10 year old has a gift. His gift is a quick mind and the ability to put anyone in their place during an argument; even adults. Now some readers may not know the story with my youngest so I’ll give you the cliff notes. He was born with a condition that didn’t allow his right eye to grow inside the womb leaving him blind in that eye. To make his appearance aesthetically correct, he’s been wearing a prosthetic eye since he was eight weeks old. Because we have a brilliant Occularist (Prosthetic eye maker) most can’t even tell his right eye is in fact, prosthetic.

We have endured curious inquiries from the young and old. This does not bother anyone in my family. Sometimes when he’s fitted with a new eye it can at first appear larger than his left eye. While my husband and I were the ones to field inquiries about his eye in the beginning, Jackson now insists he be the one to answer any questions.

My mother-in-law however has worried that one day he might get made fun of. I usually brush this off and simply say, “Every kid gets made fun of at one time or another. It’s part of life.” I took this position mainly because the thought of anyone teasing either of my children made me want to keep them at home, in a bubble. And perhaps put the parents of bullies in prison. But that wouldn’t be good for any of us.

So last week Jackson had to go to school without his prosthesis. Because of this he had to wear a patch. At one point during the day he had to take the patch off. When I picked him up from school, he jumped in the car, slammed the door and said, “Some kid on the playground saw me without my patch and shouted, ‘ewe, what’s wrong with your eye. It looks weird.’ I want to go home.” He didn’t want to cry but I could tell he was upset. For the most part I’m a calm, “go with the flow” type gal but when someone (even a child) makes one of my children cry, and I become a bit irrational. Before I could call the school and demand to know the name of the little juvenile delinquent who made fun of my kid, I calmed down and instead offered solid words of wisdom. “You know what? He probably didn’t know what he was saying. If he does it again, I’ll call the school tomorrow.”

As we were driving home Jackson started getting more frustrated. He said, “I don’t want to wait until tomorrow for you to call.” Instead of telling him the names I’d like to call that kid, I simply replied, “No we’re going to wait. I’m sure he didn’t know what he was saying and if he did, he probably won’t make anything out of his life.”

Upon hearing this Jackson looked up and responded, “That’s right! When he gets married his wife is gonna say, ‘Hey, why don’t you get a job?’ Then he’s gonna say, ‘Well I would but I made fun a kid with a little eye and nobody will give me a job.’” 

So what if it was a rhetorical comeback? It was pretty good and now I know my little boy, his prosthesis and eye patch will be just fine.

To reach Becky, email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com 

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Let the list making begin…

A couple years ago I wrote an article that I often still hear about today. It had to do with my tendency to take down names…in sharpie. I’m not sure when or the how the practice first started, but at some point in my life my Oprah inspired gratitude journal went to hell in a hand-basket.

More often than not, the list has been a joke more than anything else, but every once in a while, the actual list will reappear. A few months ago, it made a reappearance and since then, one by one, here and there, a name has been written down. Sometimes for me, sometimes for others, most recently for Becky.

Three weeks ago Becky called and was more than a little perturbed over the way someone had spoken to her. While I tried to sympathize, nothing I said seemed to make it better. And then I thought of the one thing that always makes me feel better…and out came the list.

“Hey, I just wrote his name on my list. Doesn’t that make you feel better? It’s official, in sharpie, and now karma will take care of the rest.”

Later when she came by the office, I even showed it to her. “You’re insane,” she remarked “but it does make me feel better that his name is on it. You just better hope that list never gets stolen or that no one ever dies mysteriously on your list, because that list is going to get you locked up!”

And while the infamous list has never had more than a few names (nor led to any unexplainable deaths) when I ran across it this past Friday, it shocked me to see that the last name on there was Becky’s nemesis. I had added none since and even prior to that, the ones added were few and far between.

And then it hit me, karma does work – what goes around, does come around. For the very same reason I had resurrected the sharpie and legal pad to begin with, I now have a new purpose for both.

And so it has begun… my list is now several pages long and if I tried hard enough, I could probably fill up the entire legal pad with names. When you least expect it, people will amaze you. When you don’t deserve it, people will do for you when you didn’t do a thing for them. When you need it most, people will give you a shout out, pat on the back, or say or do much, much more than you could have hoped for.

And one by one, I’ve been adding the names of those I’m grateful for to my list. I always knew my list could be a powerful thing. I just didn’t know how powerful…until I decided to look at life from a completely different list. That Oprah…she really does know what she’s talking about after all.

To read more of Angel and Becky’s columns go to

www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com or www.wilsonpost.com.

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Social Justice

I live in a home that is all about justice. Maybe it’s because we’re lawyers or maybe it’s just in our children’s DNA, but nothing gets done in our house that doesn’t involve negotiation, reward or retribution.

Take for instance – dinner.

“Neill, pass me the fork,” says our middle child.

“I will but first you have to hand me the ketchup.”

“No, I’m not handing you anything because yesterday Mama told us to put up the groceries, I put them all up and you did nothing. Now pass me the fork or I’m going to hurt you.”

“Try it and Mama will take your phone away.”

“No she won’t,” she says, as she begins eating her peas with a knife, while clutching the ketchup in a death grip.

The negotiations can continue for what seems like an eternity until at some point I pass the fork and Brody passes the ketchup. I’m sure that’s not the right parental response but somedays we just want to eat our pork chops in peace.

And so it goes…be it putting up the laundry, feeding the dog, cleaning the garage, nothing gets done until negotiations are complete.

And while I appreciate hearty debate and even a bit of obvious posturing, at some point the fact that there are no clean towels in my linen closet is just more than I can take!

On January 1, I decided it was only fair to switch out the chore list. Laundry, the most dreaded of chores, had been the middle child’s to-do. Nothing makes my little perfectionist more crazy than things that are not meticulously folded and in their place. Yet, with five in the household it was a thankless, never ending job.

So at the beginning of the year, I gave that chore to our oldest who had previously been on kitchen duty. Our oldest is our dreamer. Life, to her, isn’t about law and order but instead is about taking time to smell the roses and living each day to the fullest. Which basically boils down to the fact that for almost 7 weeks nothing has been getting washed, folded or put away. Living life to the fullest in no way, shape or form includes doing laundry. A fact I do appreciate and the reason…I make my kids do the laundry.

But after almost two months of drying off with hand towels and listening to the never ending arguments concerning the state of the laundry, I informed our household that we were reverting back to the 2013 chore list.

“Zoe, you are back on laundry duty.”

“That’s not fair!” she screamed out, as our oldest danced around the room.

“She did a horrible job and now I have to do it for her!”

And while I admit my actions are completely unjust, it’s a fact, I’ve come to live with each and every morning as I reach into that linen closet and find a clean, folded towel.

As one of the great scholars of this century said “Parent’s are not interested in justice. They are interested in quiet.” Bill Cosby

To read more of Angel and Becky’s columns go to

www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com or www.wilsonpost.com.

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