Sunday, April 09, 2006

AUNTIE-CUES
I am struck again today by how children's memories work. I'd like to think it's the "important" messages I drill into my kids that will stay with them throughout their lives, but I'm not kidding myself, it's going to be the inane things I flippantly say that they'll never forget. Those, and TV commercials.
I sneezed this morning and Wil said, "It's allergy season again." My niece had spent a full minute trying to fall asleep before calling to her mother, "Mommy! I need Lunesta!" I understand the phenomenon. I can re-tell little from my childhood, but I know how Oscar Meyer spells b-o-l-o-g-n-a. I know you'll double your fun with Double-Mint gum. I remember that if I "want it my way", I'd better head over to Burger King. Wendy's knows "Where's the beef" and Stove Top Stuffing's "What's for dinner".
When I was little my mother drove us to church each Sunday morning. On the way there was a sign I couldn't understand. Each time we'd pass I'd ask my mom, "What're auntie-cues?" She'd say she didn't know, and the scene would repeat itself the following week. In my memory, this went on for years. It probably happened twice. Finally, I said, "Mom, a-n-t-i-q-u-e-s, what does that spell?" "Antiques," she answered. Ahhhh, relief, I finally understood.
The auntie-cue sign is still there. Each time I drive down to visit my brother in Eugene, I see that sign, and I'm a confused little girl again, impatient with a mother that didn't get it the first time. I know now, as a mother, that kids bombard parents with questions constantly. How, at the time, are we ever to know which ones to take seriously and which ones don't matter? I have tried to keep the auntie-cue memory alive when my own kids ask questions, but let's face it, we are not always on our toes when these questions arise.
My son, Wil, born with many disabilities, communication being a biggie, still remembers the one, and only one, time I said "fuckin' A". Honest to God, I said it at approximately 2:00 A.M., when he was but a toddler, and had gotten me up in the night for the umpteenth time.
Every day for nearly ten years I have told him I love him everyday, all day long, my whole life. Does he repeat this? Ever? But he has full use of the "f-word", and uses it with abandon.
This has forced me to do what any reasonable, and litigious person would do, document. He can say whatever he wants before the judge, but I've got proof!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this and have to pass it along to my sister who sells auntie-cues! I'll also have her look for one of the Oscar Mayer weiner whistles for you. Wouldn't Wil just love it?

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