So the parents have come and the parents have gone. My refrigerator has more alcohol in it than it's had in a long long time...and my dishes were mysteriously washed while I was volunteering at the Animal Hospital on Saturday morning. Overall, I'm pretty sure my parents left wondering how on earth I live in such a tiny space, but I think the visit was without any emotional or psychological scarring, and really, that's all a girl asks for.
After my parents had arrived and were decompressing from the drive, we were making small chit-chat as we waited for dinner to cook and my mother's eye fell on a book on the coffee table.
(If you remember, a long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I posted about a book that I had purchased for the boy and I. I highly recommend the book to anyone in a relationship. I mean, you have to have a solid relationship, because there may be some answers that will truly test your patience (and your sense of humor.) But overall the book was a success. I loved it. It's been relegated to a box in my bedroom for over a year now, but in the deep clean that preceeds a parental visit, the book was dislodged from its usual spot in my bedroom and brought out to the living room so that I could re-live all the hilarity that the boy and I went through when filling it out. I just, um, forgot to put it away before the parents arrived.)
My mom asked about the book, and after I explained it to her, it became a topic of conversation. See, the whole object of the book is that it asks questions, both parties have to answer them, and it's supposed to open up more conversations. The questions range from serious (When did you know you were in love with your partner) to silly (What animal most reminds you of your partner?) I chose the silly to discuss with my parents. (No, I did not let my mother actually SEE the book. Are you crazy?)
When it came to confessing which animal most reminds us of each other, I went first. The answer came easily - a cheetah. The boy reminds me of a cheetah. He's lean, he's fast, he's agile....and he always lands on his feet.* I think cheetahs are like poetry in motion when they're running, and I see the same in the boy when he's playing soccer, playing with the dogs, etc. Done. Cheetah. The boy chewed that over for a while (I don't think it's what he expected) but he seemed satisfied with my response. (Image courtesy of National Geographic, btw)
When it was the boy's turn, he answered with no hesitation whatsoever, "Bulldog."
The boy, seeing my astonishment hurried to explain. "You know! It's because you're tenacious. And stubborn. And strong. And strong willed. And, you know....you're short. Compact."
Now, I don't know what springs to YOUR mind when you hear the word bulldog, but in my mind, a bulldog looks like this image that I found at kandinginfo. Um, notsocute. I mean, I think they're cute, but in that 'they're so ugly they're cute' sort of way. In fact, I think of slobber, and underbites, and snorting, and no agility whatsoever. Dear God, I'm a bulldog?! THAT'S how the boy sees me? A BULLDOG?! This is...what? I mean....what?!
As those thoughts ran through my head, the boy asked me what I was thinking. "Um, I dunno. Isn't there anything with all those characteristics that is a bit, um...cuter?"
At this point in the story, my father was laughing out loud. I told him that eventually I just accepted that this is how the boy is and chose to see this comparison as a good thing. I mean, I am tenacious. I am stubborn. I am compact. I really can't fault the boy for his opinion. It's not completely devoid of reality, you know.
After his laughter died down, my mother turned to my father. "So what animal would you compare to me?"
Whoops. Sorry dad. Didn't see that one coming.
An awkward silence decended while I tried desperately to think of something to say to change the subject. Unfortunately, all I could think of was "What animal would I compare my mother to?" None of the answers that occurred to me seemed appropriate.
"A monkey." My father said finally.
My mother seemed appeased. "Why?"
"Well, because you were born during the year of the monkey."
My mother's appeasement vanished. "That doesn't count!"
Another awkward silence. I could see my father getting frustrated. "Fine. Well, you're stubborn like your daughter. And you yell a lot. I don't know, a jackass?"**
And all of a sudden, the boy's answer didn't seem quite so bad.
*And for StaceyJ, I'll point out that cheetahs also sleep something like 18 hours per day. Though I did not realize this at the time and did NOT point it out to the boy.
**Don't worry, it was said in frustration/jest. My father took back that response later and promised to think about it. I'm sort of hoping he goes with "badger" next time, though I think "monkey" wasn't too far off the mark. He should have gone with his gut instinct.