Today in class I was lecturing/giving notes - something I rarely do - about Joseph Campbell's
The Hero's Journey. Rather than have them read that book and The Golden Bough, I condense it all into notes and we use those notes for all the novels we read, and in one step the Hero usually has to run away, but I have it written "get the heck out of Dodge."
This reminded me of one Christmas a few years ago when the nut was only three or four. We were at Aunt Sharon's, like we are every Christmas evening, with my husbands ENTIRE family. I was sitting by the Christmas tree, snuggled up with the nut in one of those chair-and-a-halfs, when the now 11-year-old, then 7, decided to join in on the cuddle-fest. The nut hates to share, but tolerated him, it being Christmas and all. Then the older girls, 14 and 16, decided to clamber on. The nut was now pissed. She wormed her way out of the mix, yanked blanky out from under one of her sister's butts, and gave all of us the most silent, darkest glare that I have ever been on the receiving end of. I would have never even thought one so tiny and innocent had such ferocity, such righteous indignation within. Oh, but she dug deep and found it. And then stalked off, her tiny spine ramrod straight.
I laughed and said "she certainly knew when to get the hell out of Dodge."
The middle daughter poked me hard - it hurt - in the ribs and said "MOM DON'T SWEAR IT'S CHRISTMAS! And you're being a terrible role model (yes, this is actually how she talks) - the CHILDREN (looking pointedly at my stepson) will think it's ok to SWEAR TOO!" As I laughed, saying oh no, he wouldn't, don't be silly, the boy of the family slowly stood, turned to face us, and said, "oh yeah?"
He leaned in, our attention riveted, and whispered: