Thursday, January 15, 2009

There's a price for keeping secrets ...

… and I don't want my little nephew to pay it.

The family is abuzz about a paper my third-grade nephew wrote. The topic was, "Something that bothers me." My nephew wrote about how his parents fight with his sister for "hours and hours," and that it gets so loud he goes down to the basement with his Gameboy and tries to ignore it.

My sister (his mother) saw it and was mortified. She asked him if he had to write about his sister and how they argue. "What?" he asked defiantly. "Do you want me to lie?"

The hand-wringing has gone from how he spilled their noisy, messy homelife to how "mouthy" he was in defending his composition. I don't understand what all the fuss is about because:

1) My niece, a sophomore in high school, does argue with her parents. About cellphone minutes, and time behind the wheel, and her aspirations. I don't see why this is especially scandalous. I bet the teacher has heard and seen worse.

2) My sister, the baby of the family, is very sharp tongued but doesn't realize it. So she doesn't recognize that, when the tone gets hostile or sarcastic, my niece is living what she's learned.

3) I think it TERRIFIC that my nephew is using his words to share what's going on inside. It's better than punching a wall or acting out in school. I wonder how much of this at-home stress, and keeping it to himself, contributes to those miserable headaches he suffers. If writing about it and telling his teacher what's going on at home helps, then I'm grateful for it.

I suppose that in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I was on barbiturates in first grade for sleepwalking and chronic diarrhea. Yet I still got in trouble within the family for letting people know what went on behind closed doors at our house. Then, as now, keeping the family secrets was paramount, regardless of the cost.

Look who's here to keep me company!

I always love Lucy, but never more so than when I don't feel good. Here I am, on the sofa with my cat Charlotte at my side, watching Lucy try to reunite with Ricky. She missed the ship that's taking Ricky and the band to Europe and … well, you know Lucy. Hi jinks ensue. And I am content to just sit here and be amused by them.

Yeah, but I'm stubborn

It's after 1:00 AM and I'm up again, unable to sleep. I woke up with a headache and a stuffy nose. It's just a cold, no fever, but it's sapping my energy and mornings have been so tough for me.

Thursday promises to be a heinously cold day (the high is predicted to be -1º F). We're terrifyingly slow at work this week and I realize that if I slept in (provided I can go back to sleep!) my coworkers would somehow be able to muddle through without me.

And yet I really can't stand weather whining. It's January in Chicago -- historically our coldest month, when the average temperature is always below freezing. I really resist letting my agenda be altered by the thermometer, or a tenacious airborn virus that's set up a temporary residence inside this old gal.