Thankful for…

So it’s the time of year when we all write about what we’re thankful for. Or, if you’re a former English major (like me), it’s that time of year wherein we write about things for which we’re thankful. (That’s if you’re the former English major. Like I.)

Sometimes the English language is a clunky thing. But I’m grateful for it, nonetheless, and grateful that I know how to use it. And I’m thankful that I’ve passed that particular gift on to my kids. So today I’m posting some things my kids have said that have brought me joy over the last (gosh it’s already) 10 years or so, because I’m so very thankful for those two little Albert clones. (Just a quick explainer: my kids look EXACTLY like my husband, Albert. I had those two little feckers at home with no drugs. That’s the only reason I’m 100% sure they’re mine, because you sure couldn’t tell by looking…)


Okay, so yesterday, we’re in a lab in Pasadena, getting Anton’s blood drawn to check for allergies. There’s a note on the door that says: Please let your phlebotomist know if you suffer from the following blah, blah, blah.  Anton said, “What’s a p-hel-boma-tit?”

I said, “Ahem. Phlebotomist. It means a person who’s trained to draw blood.”

The phlebotomist in the room said, “Yeah. We’re blood suckers.”

 Anton said: “I thought that was lawyers.”


Speaking of corruption, recently I was driving carpool, every parent’s absolutely favorite thing to do (it really can be, because you do learn a lot by sitting in the front seat, thus rendering yourself invisible to children somehow—but only if you’re not late, the kids aren’t fighting and you’ve remembered by some miracle that it’s actually your day to do it. These perfect circumstances have happened to me exactly twice in the last 6 years.)

Anyway, my son’s friend Abe said, “My aunt lives in Sacramento. There’s nothing up there but farms.”

Anton said, “Yeah. And the government.”

Abe said, “It smells funny.”

Anton explained, “That’s the smell of manure. And corruption.”


But he also told me, when he was about 6: “Mama, do you know there’s no such thing as good guys and bad guys? See, I been thinking a lot about war…”

(Great, I think. Lovely that my 6 year old is thinking about war…)

I said, “You mean the war in Iraq or the one in Afghanistan?”

He said, “Well, those, too, but mostly about Star Wars…”



“…and I realized there’s no such thing as good guys and bad guys. There’s only enemies and allies. See, if you’re on one side, you think you’re the good guy—but if you’re on the other side, you think you’re the good guy. See? Everyone thinks they’re the good guy. So—it’s really just who you agree with. Enemies and allies.”


My daughter, Zosia, on the other hand, tends to see things a little more black and white. She recently told me, “You know, I used to think I wanted to go to an all-girls’ school, because I don’t much like boys. But now I’ve started to realize: Girls are really judgey!”


Speaking of not much liking boys, she came home from school one day and said, ‘I just can’t stand Austin. He’s always saying who’s doing things they’re not supposed to—“

I said, “Oh, he’s the kind who’s always telling when someone does something wrong?”

She said, darkly, “He’s the kind who’s always telling on you even if you’ve done something right.”


Ahhhhh, school days. How I don’t miss them.  Anton was blue one night and said, “We have so many bullies around. I don’t see why kids are so mean.” A pause. “But actually, the biggest bully I know is the one in my own head that tells me I’m not good enough.”

I think I know that same bully…


School. That hotbed of insanity. When Anton was in kindergarten he told me: “You know, most kids aren’t very kind.”

“Really?” I asked. “Is someone bothering you?”

He said, “They all kind of bother me.”

“Oh,” I said sadly. “Are you lonely?”

“No, he said, “I play mostly by myself, but I have fun. I spy on people and pretend I’m invisible and I run around a lot. But mostly, I just hang around and wait.”

“Wait for what?”

He looked at me like I was daft. Hadn’t he just explained? “Wait for the other kids to grow up and get a little more kind,” he said.


I’ve said to the kids many times such things as: “If no one is being nice to you, you can at least be nice to yourself.” I say this because I don’t really do it and I suffer for that. Zosia takes it to heart. On many occasions, I’ve heard her sing: “You’re so beautiful, you’re very smart, you’re perfect as you are, you’re so precious.”

One day I asked her: “Who are you singing about?”

And she stopped her singing, slightly annoyed, and snapped: “Myself!”

Sometimes I’ll say: “You look so lovely!”

“I know,” she always answers serenely.

That’s a good thing…? Right? Oh how would I know? I wouldn’t know self-esteem if it came up and bit me in the ass.

For example, I recently made some self-deprecating joke about the house having an agent before I did (long story) and what a loser that makes me. Zosia said: “Mama! Apologize to yourself this instant! You can hear you, you know!”


Yes. I still have a lot to learn.

One day, after he’d just started kindergarten, Anton popped out with: “Mama! Do you know there’s no such thing as death?”

I was sitting at the kitchen table with him and my mother-in-law, who has studied a lot of metaphysical texts. I, myself, was an avowed atheist at the time and wanted to nip this idea in the bud, so I said, “Oh yes, honey, actually yes there is such a thing as death.”

My mother-in-law shot me a look, but to her credit, stayed quiet. Anton elucidated: “No. You just go to a different place.”

“Oh, “ I said, trying, but not too hard, to keep the disdain from my voice, “You mean like heaven?”

“No,” Anton said and his tone was like—pshaw! “No—Heaven’s not practical. It’s more like—it’s like this world is like Kindergarten. And you learn everything you need to learn here and then you die. And then you go to the next world and that’s like first grade. And then you learn all you need to learn there and then you die and go to the second grade world. And it just goes on like that. And since you never really run out of things to learn, you never really die.”

I looked at him in wonder. My mother in law looked smug. “Did you tell him this?” I asked her.

“Nope,” she said. “But he just explained exactly what I believe, better than I could.”

“How do you know this, Anton?” I asked.

“I just do, “ he said.


So—there it is, a partial list of why I’m so thankful for my kids. They’re my healers as well as being my joy.

Happy Thanksgiving.










This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 5:07 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


2 Responses to “Thankful for…”

  1. heidi craig Says:

    Holy cow, Anton and Zosia are so wondrous and wise, Sonja. Know whom that reflects on? YOU. Well done. To Albert, too, of course. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  2. Jo Says:

    Beautiful. So much wisdom. We had that before we grew up too, y’know!

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