Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ah, Madeleina Again

It's Sunday morning, threatening to rain here in bucolic Joshua, TX. Hasn't rained in about a month. Chepa took her babies, Sierra and Alexa, up to Indiana about a week ago to visit their dad, so Madeleina's been with me non-stop. Actually, she's been with me most of the time since I've been back from Peru. Which is fine by me. But I know she misses her mom when she's out of town. You can't quantify that type of abandonment--but I know she feels it. And not that she wants to go to Indiana, particularly, but I see it in her eyes and the occasional flash of anger that she feels it when her mom leaves with her other babies, leaving Madeleina feeling left alone.
So I try to make the best of it. I drag her around with me, generally against her will for the first few minutes till she gets in the groove and starts having a good time. Yesterday I gave a short talk for the Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as part of a panel on natural gas drilling. The title sounds cool, right? And when I was introduced as someone who'd won multiple state and regional awards, and even a couple of national awards for my writing on the subject, well, I beamed but I thought Madeleina was going to explode!
It was a small group and I was very short and sweet: most anything I might have said could have been construed as political and that might compromise my ability to work as an objective reporter on the subject. So I opened the program, spoke ten minutes and left the stage.
Madeleina wasn't thrilled about coming--especially about waking up at 7 AM on a Saturday morning to go hear me talk--but wound up having a gas, in part because they had fantastic breakfast snacks, like mini-lemon cakes and mini-cinnamon rolls. And she got to stroll around the TCU campus where the event was held.
I paid her back by taking her to a fantastic glass/art gallery she'd never been to before after we left, and she was just wild about the art works. I mean, she was wild: "Dad! Look at these flowers! Look at this vase! I looks like it's a moving waterfall!!!! I want to be an artist dad, forget everything else, okay? An artist who has an appreciation for all things glass!!!!!"
We followed that up with a trip to Ms. Molly's, the best toy store in Fort Worth, for our money. Though she's been there 20 times she never fails to fall in love with it all over again. Her only disappointment being that she's too big a girl now to have all the toys that set her heart on fire. I did manage to get her a sort of mesuda hair thing that lights up--which I'm gonna guess is going to wind up on a youtube madeleinag video before long.
By the time we got home she was bushed and went to sleep. I spent a couple of afternoon hours working on a story due tomorrow, Monday, then headed out to the store to run errands. Before heading out I picked up the mail: there was a fresh box of fantastic jungle soaps--and generally fantastic bath soaps--made with plant essenses by my friend Boa Cowee, who, if she would ever set up a website could make a fortune with her beautiful soaps.
That one was addressed to Madeleina and I.
Then there was another piece of mail, this one addressed to the "Parents of Lydia Gorman". Lydia is Madeleina's first name, but in Peru you don't use the first name, hence Madeleina. It was from the Fort Worth High School of Performing Arts. It was either gonna be an acceptance or rejection letter. Dammit. I wasn't happy with getting it.
On the other hand, it didn't have a negative vibe, so I opened it.
It said that Madeleina had passed the audition to make the school with her flute, but that the few flute slots for freshmen were taken by kids who'd done better than she, so she was on the waiting list.
Good, I thought. She'd done well. This is a pretty high powered place in a town, Fort Worth, where they take their bands very seriously. And Madeleina had done well enough to make the school cut. Just not well enough for the three or four slots they had for flute. But this being Texas, well, people move around all the time, so I won't be surprised if something opens up and she gets to attend the school next year.
But I knew Madeleina was not going to take it that way, and when I got home she didn't disappoint.
"I didn't make it, dad! I'm a loser! I'm nothing! Why did I even try out?"
"Ah, darling. First, stop the theatrics. You're a winner, not a whiner, okay? So have your angst and then get on to the winner part."
"You don't know anything, dad....."
"Done yet? Good. Now reread the letter and read what it says..."
"I can't. I already threw it away."
"Well, then I'll tell you what it said. It said you made the school but that some other kids were better than you. So you're on the waiting list. What's the problem with that? You made the cut. They just don't have enough seats."
"But I'll be a loser going to Joshua High School...."
"Enough, Madeleina. You never thought you were the best flute player. You know you're not. You don't practice enough for that, and that's not the school's problem, that's your choice. So if other kids practice an hour a day, and maybe have a private teacher as well, and you practice 30 minutes a day, who the heck do you think is going to be a better player?"
"That's not fair. I mean, they should just see what a wonderful addition to the school I would be...."
"Right, and then what should they do? Kick out a better flute player to make room for you because you are simply the coolest girl?"
"Exactly! That is exactly what they should do!"
"So much for worthiness..."
She eventually saw things my way, or at least pretended to, and then I distracted her with a cool meal, the likes of which we have never had around here. My friend Gritter, the emergency room doc, sent up about six pounds of the best slightly sharp venison sausage in the world. So I sliced a few ounce of that that thinly, bought some sharp cheddar, a little hummus, good crackers, stuffed grape leaves, good black olives and some sweet pickles. I made us each a tray with that selection, then added a few fresh strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon.
I had mine with a Cabernet; she had hers with fresh sweet lime juice. She spoke with an alternating British and French accent throughout the meal. "My, the Gerkins make a lovely complement to the venison, don't they dear dad? And ze ftuits, zey are such fierrrce competition for ze cheddar, no?
We both probably gained 10 pounds.
It was worth it.
A nice day all around.

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