My youngest child has earned many nicknames, but the one that suits him best is Precious Angel, PA for short. He earned it partly because I had to call him something to remind myself that he was a precious gift from above in order to keep from tanning his precious little hide, and partly because he has done and said some truly precious things in his few years. This account stems from the latter.
PA’s daddy and I compete over who is the favorite parent. In order to win his vote, we take turns reminding him of all the things we’ve done for him over the years. I like to interject that I had nine additional months of caring for him solely and that his daddy never had to sleep on a bathroom floor (literally) or buy a bigger wardrobe (literally) or take a foot-long needle in the spine (almost literally) before we were blessed with his presence. In one of these battles, PA asked us to wait in the living room while he made a sign for the one who had the most of his love. We sat, each certain we would be the winner, while he colored and cut in the kitchen. When it was time to reveal the winner, we both walked in to find this on our refrigerator:
“I LOVE COD!”
He made that all by himself. Isn’t that precious? How sweeeet! What? No, he doesn’t love fish more than Mommy and Daddy. That’s “GOD”, not “COD”. I know that because I used context clues to help me figure it out (the exclamation cross was a big hint). And it helps that I know the writer pretty well, too. We leave his vote on the fridge as a reminder that we must be doing something right with this kid. Also, it’s a cute story for our visitors.
As adorable as it is, though, not everyone gets it immediately. We have had to translate for guests. It makes perfect sense after we explain it. We all laugh and say something along the lines of, “Awe, isn’t that the sweetest thing?” PA was just out of pre-school when he crafted this, so his exchange of letters is excused. But that’s just it, he was just out of pre-school. What if he did that now at the ripe old age of 8? We probably wouldn’t have it so prominently displayed. I more than likely would offer to help him redo his work.
What if he did that at 25? Or 40? It gets less and less cute as you consider more years. The time for making excuses expires quickly. Third grade is pretty demanding. We’re working on writing complete sentences - complete with proper grammar and punctuation and spelling. It’s tough. Sometimes he’d rather just watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or build a Lego castle. I get it. Writing isn’t a priority for everyone, but clear communication is essential for big kids and grown-ups. If you’d rather spend your time riding a bike or helping Mario get to the next level or managing your sales team or any number of things other than writing, send the work my way. I’m here to help.