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Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Bookends: two sides of something in the middle. I am one of the things in the middle. My sister instructs me that I am not truly in the middle of a sandwich because I’m only in between because our mother is soooo old. However, I say that anyone in the middle of generations counts as being in the middle of a sandwich. She posits that, in that case, it must be a club sandwich as our children (not hers and mine together, but hers and mine in separate sandwiches) are between us and their own children. On second thought, there can be more than one item inside a sandwich. It could be that our children are the main sandwich ingredient while I am merely the mayonnaise. I often feel like the mayonnaise.

Anyway, on to the outsides, bookends. My mother has a successful ploy for getting her own way. It involves digging her heels in. Granted that her own way is often a good way, but she attains it through pure stubbornness, with, occasionally, a dollop of guilt and shame thrown in. Well, she’s a mother, after all; we have our ways.
My grandson at two and a half has already learned that charm works better than obstinacy for getting what he wants, better than , say, screeching at the top of his voice or throwing himself on the floor and crying. Instead, he turns on a little half smile, the one that shows off his dimples to such good advantage, and asks sweetly, “Pleeeease?” If that proves unsuccessful, he says whimsically and persuasively, “Hey, don’t say no.” Damn, the kid’s good.

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