We talked for a while about her new grandson, my employment situation and her eight year old son's worry that I had lost my job. Somehow by the end of our conversation, I had inherited a very concerned 8 year old for the day. You know a child is eager to see you when, after just returning from early mass, he decides to come visit even though it means going to church a second time, since were just about on the way out the door when they called. It was not his first visit there, but I wonder sometimes whether my very progressive church with its lesbian reverend and rainbow of straight, gay and transgender membership confuses this little Catholic boy. If he is aware on these visits that he is not in Kansas anymore, he doesn't show it. While I am straight, one of the things I really love about the church we go to is that it is so open and affirming to anyone who shows up, so it makes me happy to see that my adopted nephew is growing up to be someone who sees past labels and just sees people.
I think he had fun. Once he learned about St. Patrick's day and green, he adopted pinch first, look later approach to the day. He wasn't accepting any shades of pseudo green either. I had already been pinched before he conceded that the little bits of lime color in the print on my dress were indeed green and that only after a friend of mine convinced him I was an Irish princess and could curse him. Having him around for the day really helped put things in perspective. In the most heartbreakingly sweet moment ever, he informed me that instead of presents for my birthday, he will be giving me money. Of course, he also suggested later in the day that when he gives me said money, I could use it to buy him a Transformer. Still, in that initial moment of sweetness, I am confident that he and his solemn brown eyes really meant it.
Having him around helped me forget my worries for a few hours. We pinched, we played Mario Brothers on the Wii, we dined on Happy Meals, we perused paint chips to determine the best shade for my bedroom wall (he will be helping me paint during spring break next week!), and made plans for the many picnics we will have this summer. And, most of all, he reminded me that my job is not me, my job is not my life.