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Friday, November 4, 2011

Maybe She'll Forget By Then...


So last weekend, my husband took me out for my birthday. That was exactly what I wanted—to just go out together as a couple, and another time as a family (which we'd already done earlier in the month), to do something special together. Due to the Great Recession, we don't go out much at all.  He had found cheap tickets to a local musical and decided to surprise me with them. That was the best gift right there!  He even arranged for his mother to watch our kids--at her place. His mother is a little round Italian woman with a very eccentric personality, much like most of my husband's large, very extended family on his mother's side (and when I mean very extended, I mean we see third and fourth cousins in his family fairly regularly).

The kids seemed fine with this and were even polite when Nana asked them all what they were going to be for Halloween, kept saying “What?!” each time they answered, etc. They only snickered a little bit when my youngest son answered, “Werewolf Outlaw” (which is a whole other story as to why he always has to be two characters for each Halloween because he can never decide on one...) and after he repeated to Nana in a loud voice two more times, “Werewolf Outlaw”, she said back, “Batman? Oh, you're Batman. That's good!”
So we were surprised to hear great big sobs coming from behind my mother-in-law's front door when we went to pick them up after the fabulous musical. My husband opened the door and my daughter is crying big huge tears.
“What is the matter?” we said to her.
“Nana put on a movie for us!” she says.
“It has a dog in it,” says my youngest son, Joey.
“Yeah, but that's nice,” we said to her. “Nana put on a nice movie for you! Why are you so upset?”
“The dog was awful!” she says. “That Cuji dog was awful!”
“Cuji?” I said.
“She means 'Cujo',” says Jay, my oldest son.
“Cugo? You watched Cugo from Stephen King?” says my husband.
“Yes,” says my second son, Kenny. “Nana thought a dog movie would be good.”
“I think Cugo is rated R...isn't it?” I said, haltingly in a low, shocked voice to my husband.
Poor Nana shuffled out of her TV room and slowly made her way out to meet us at the door where we were waiting with the kids. She brought their jackets with her and handed them to me. Her eyes were almost shut with tired, dark rings around them. I didn't say anything to her. I didn't know what to say.  I didn't know how best to handle the situation.  My husband, too, just kissed his mother, said “thank you” and quickly grabbed the kids and brought them out to the car.
In the car, I asked the kids, “Well, didn't Nana know that it wasn't a good movie when Cugo started to act crazy?”
“She said, 'What is that dog doing? Oh my goodness, he is being a bad dog!'” said Kenny, my second son.
“Did you ask to change the channel?” said my husband.
“She wouldn't let us change it, Dad,” said Jay. “She said it was a good Disney movie for the kids.”
“A good Disney movie...?” I said.
“Yeah,” said Joey.
We consoled the kids, put them into their beds and tried to focus on the good part of the evening. I had (and still have) no idea how to handle the situation.  Do I let it go?  How do I bring up to my husband that his mother is getting older? How does a spouse do this? It just wasn't a conversation for the late hour. We went to sleep.
It wasn't until yesterday when I realized that this conversation is something that will soon have to happen.
Joey came home from elementary school and as we walked home from the bus stop together, he said to me, “Hey Mom, I guess there's a lot of people who have seen Cugo.”
“Really,” I say, bracing myself because as the mother of four, I already know what he's going to say next, but I ask the preceding-train-wreck question anyhow, “How do you know?”
“Because I shared it at “circle time” that my family watched Cugo over the weekend.”
“You did?” I say, imagining the look on his teacher's face when he told this to the class.
I must have had a pained look on my own face because he said, “Don't worry, Mom, everybody said they'd seen Cugo, too!” he said, patting me on the back. “Even my teacher!”
I'm not looking forward to parent conferences next month.

1 comment:

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