The Good Fight

We're in those really hot humid days of the summer (not as hot as Texas, mind you, but twice as humid) when the weather is so volatile it's like a migraine lurking around every corner.

Migraines make me cynical, which is mostly a foreign concept in our house and not one I like to encourage. We have a PUPPY--there is no place for cynicism here. We thumb our noses at cynicism! Cynicism is for the weak! (Well, okay, and New York City cab drivers.)

Also, I can't WRITE when I am in the throes of cynicism because everything I write sounds like every other cynical writer out there and I fail to see how that improves our collective spirits or adds any value to the world. Let's face it: like its cousin Sarcasm, Cynicism is easy and can be had by anyone with a word processing program and too-tight pants. And/or migraines.

But how to fight the good fight against it?


For starters, you could spend the day with Jane Cooper. (I'm willing to loan her out for a small fee.)

If you did, your day would look something like this.

1. Breakfast at IHOP

She likes her eggs scrambled and would appreciate a chocolate chip pancake chaser.

(Note that you might have to stop yourself from eavesdropping on conversations around you. Because it would be bad, hypothetically speaking, if you overheard one young woman speaking to another about how her boyfriend, "really, really listens to me and cares about how I might react to what he says. I can just tell he's always thinking about me." The effort not to roll your eyes in a cynical manner might cause your brain to explode.)

2. On your way home from IHOP, maybe you could take her to Michael's.

Warning, this will cost you some money so it would help the fight against cynicism if you happen to find a $50 gift card in your wallet. It will REALLY feel like magic if you can't remember where you got it! (Avoid engaging the cashier in any sort of small talk, though, because it might cause you to wonder cynically if the way cashiers at Michael's are hired is to get a bunch of apathetic people in a room together and see who's the rudest.)

3. Sort beads

Jane likes to buy those big tubs of beads ($4.99) and then sort them according to some categorical system that only she really understands. Pay attention.


Followed by dessert:

It is impossible to be cynical while eating a fudgesicle.

5. Bounce on the trampoline. Try not to decide that you are old and can no longer bounce in a satisfactory manner. Try not to take it personally when Jane offers to help you back off the tramp.

6. Answer a phone call from a friend inviting Jane for a play date. Try to not let your heart break when Jane says valiantly that she would MUCH RATHER stay and play with you. Reassure her gently that it's really okay if she wants to play with Katie. Tell her you'll go to the grocery store to get the makings for the taco feast the two of you have planned for dinner. Drive her to Katie's house. Love her with all of your heart when she tells you that she will see you in two hours and you'll get to continue to have your "Day Together."

7. Go to the grocery store. Pick the one with the Starbucks in it because a Light Mocha Frappucino will make you feel much less cynical about the world.

8. Come home. Get shirts ready for tie-dying. Cook taco meat. Do a little laundry. Answer phone call from Jane asking if she can stay another hour. Tell her she certainly can and that you will see her at 4:00.

9. Pet your puppy. It is impossible to be cynical around a puppy, even if he is only seven months old and the size of a small pony.
Take a little nap.

10. Pick Jane up and tie-dye shirts once home.

11.Eat dinner.

12. Watch "Matilda," which you bought on impulse at the grocery store under the influence of the frappucino and Jane's genuine moral dilemma over whether or not to go on her play date.

13. Have dessert:

It is impossible to be cynical when you have chocolate sprinkles.

13. Make stepping stone to commemorate day, even if it is after dark. (It has glow-in-the-dark stones! It's impossible to be cynical around glow-in-the-dark things--they are just too cool.)

14. Go to bed thinking about your day. Say a little prayer of thanks for all the goodness in your world. It's impossible to be cynical when you have Jane.


Damsel said…
I feel less cynical just reading this. Thanks for the smiles and the lift! :-)
hokgardner said…
What a wonderful day.

Eight has been a really good year with Ella, and it seems like it is with Jane, also.
ToyLady said…
Heh - your puppy's the size of a pony?

In the past week, we've bought two - count 'em TWO - items for our puppy in the HORSE section of Country Max.

Also, your daughter is gorgeous - I'll bet she's like a whirlwind, isn't she? I loved that age. . .
joannamauselina said…
Jane is pretty darned cute. When my daughter was that age, she asked me what a cynic was. I told her to look it up in our little Oxford English Dictionary. She came back and said, "I still don't know what a cynic is." "Well, what did it say?" I asked. "One who rips aside the veil of human frailty," she answered. I have always LOVED that definition.
Unknown said…
thanks, I needed that.

(and thanks for the puppy shot, got my puppy porn fix for the week)
Karen said…
Does Jane do Minnesota? Because I could use an occasional Jane fix.
Miri said…
Sweet Smiley Jane saves the day! What a great collection of memories you made.
Georgi said…
What a wonderful day!
Kathy Ireland said…
Love this post, Barb.

Have a great, migraine free week!
ccr in MA said…
You could probably make some money by sending Jane out on non-cynical errands of mercy. Let me know if she wants to come to Boston cometime!
You've put your finger on it. My kids helped me not be cynical. And the reason I'm not enjoying the teens? They no longer keep the dreaded cynicism at bay.
MadMad said…
Wait, wait, wait. So what you're saying is... my pants are too tight. Hm. That could explain a lot, actually.

And B) Damn, woman! You sure pack A WHOLE LOT into a day! No WONDER she's smiling! I am so much meaner than you are. Especially in 90 degree weather.
Bullwinkle said…
Omg. That was incredibly sweet. Thanks for writing. I loved it.
Kerry said…
Was this really just ONE DAY?!?! Really, ONE of those activities would have put me out of commision for the rest of the day. Taking an 8 year old to a pancake joint! Bringing any child to a craft store! Sorting beads! Jumping on the trampoline! Driving child to a play shopping, making tacos, TYE DYING SHIRTS!!!!!! Making stepping stones?!?!

This reads more like your "What I did on my summer vacation" essay than a day in the life. Seriously, I think this is more than I did ALL SUMMER long! How on earth do you do it?