Citizen (Andi)

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“Okay, Wednesday,” I say in the car. No one is really listening. Except they’re always listening. “Let’s do this.”

“Yep. It’s hump day,” says B in the backseat.

I squawk. “Yes, hump day! Only two more days in the week after this.”

“Wait,” says L in the front passenger seat. “Whoa. I just figured out why they call it hump day.”

The car is silent for a rest note and then—“Oh?” I ask.

“You didn’t know why it was called hump day?” B asks, always needing confirmation that he did indeed know something/do something before or better than one of his older brothers.

“We love you even though you’re slow,” I say. I reach over to run my hand down my middle child’s short hair.

“Well, no one ever told me before,” L justified. He’s laughing, too. All three of us are in this cozy cocoon of silly morning friendliness. This is not always the case, these mornings. I’m holding on to this with both hands.

“So, L,” I say, “a high-five is called a high-five because you have five fingers, and you hold your hand up high so someone else can slap their five fingers to your five fingers.”

“Well, I know that one.”

“And a thumbs-up is called a thumbs-up because you point your thumb up.”

“Those ones are obvious.”

“I just want to be sure to tell you things that no one ever told you before. That’s basically my whole job as mom.”

A comfortable silence.

“So, Mom, why do they call a building a building . . . when it’s already been built?” L looks over and grins. I grin back.

“I have no idea.”

“And which is silent in the word scent, the s or the c?”

“You got me.”

“English is so weird.”

“Yep. I love it.”

From the backseat: “A kid in my class the other day said something really funny, he walked around and told everyone he was fluent in English. And we were all like, of course you are. But he kept saying, but I’m fluent.”

I glance over at L and he is not even rolling his eyes at his little brother’s contribution and then we pull into the school parking lot and my boys open their doors and tumble out, like the puppies I still picture them as. Love you, I say. And they tell me back. Love you. Love you.

 

Dear b, your word for next week is Command.

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