Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A Compliment That Made Me Cry (or, I Have No Dignity But A Lot Of Fun)

New Year's Eve was totally low key here. We don't normally do much of anything (other than drink wine and champagne and watch the ball drop and realize how old and out of touch we are when we can't recognize any of the entertainment), but this year was particularly nothing. We dressed up and had dinner, and then promptly pajama'd. We read and watched the ball drop, the sad sad ball in the most empty Times Square I've ever seen, which was good, because pandemic, but still weird. Bryce said they should have made the ball a coronavirus, which was a dark moment but I forgave him. He read his math book at midnight and I got my kiss and we finished our bubbly and went to bed. 

But BEFORE the ball-dropping, math-reading, midnight-smooching, and champagne-guzzling, I did something different. 

I had what can only be described as a "weird selfie war" with my best friend's 9 year old daughter. It started with me just sending weird selfies to my best friend, and then I received an eye up close that was definitely her daughter's. And then it got weirder and weirder from there. 

I will share with you my side of the selfie war. Everything I did, she returned in her own way, like a strange dance circle competition at a wedding or a prom. 

The highly unflattering and creepy selfie that started it all.

Followed by this one, which I dubbed "Pretty New Year's Princess." I got one with a Happy New Year bead necklace from the 9-year-old in return. Also my best friend said, "Insane Asylum Princess, maybe"

Had to follow up "Insane Asylum Princess comment with something real weird. Don't mind my pores and dark eye circles. She sent a similar nose-forward picture.

This was titled, "Like my nose ring?" I then got one with the Happy New Year bead necklace as a nose ring. :)

I was hiding in this one. It is not a bad picture all things considered, ha.

Sparkly eyeliner. Yup, got the same thing back with the Happy New Year bead necklace!

Tried for a silly scary one, and the hair-in-the-face I got back was truly terrifying and a bit too much like the girl from "The Ring."

I was not going for glamour at all, obviously. Moustache selfie, returned with a mustache and long 9-year-old hair beard.

Upping the ante, this was Bryce's idea. DOUBLE OCTOPUS. The one before this that I can't find had the orange octopus on my head and a orange 3-d printed thingamabob in my hand, I got a blanket on her head and an orange lego thing in response. Pretty clever!

Then I went feral. She followed up with one just like this, but from the stack of flattened cardboard boxes to be recycled. RAWR

Then she got fancy and sent me her doing a handstand, and was like "BEAT THAT!" So Bryce and I mocked up a handstand on the floor, because I'M FORTY-FOUR AND COULD NEVER DO A HANDSTAND. Pretty clever mockup, no?

She won. This is me laughing after she sent me a video of backflips, and I sent her a video of me basically rolling around on the floor and pretending to run while lying on the floor, and I couldn't stop laughing, and then she sent back her version of my floor-rolling, with a somersault-backflip grand finale. SHE WON.

It was insanely fun. I cannot believe I just shared that handstand photo, but I draw the line at the rolling around on the floor video. There was a lot of belly and Bryce made a farting sound to make it seem like I tooted when I rolled over, which was hilarious, but not necessary to put on the internets. (Is any of this necessary? Nope.)

The next day, I talked to my best friend, who was still talking to me after this display via text/video/video call, and I thanked her for also doing a video call with me a day earlier so I could see her and talk with her kids and husband (who is also my friend from college). 

And then she made me cry.


Well, a couple years ago we were named guardians in the unlikely event that she and her husband passed at the same time, which is an awesome responsibility and an amazing honor, one that you hope never actually comes to pass (and is a lot of trust, since there are three kids!). I have been dubbed "the crazy sort-of-aunt, right?" by her kids, and they call us Jessica and Rice. We send them Christmas presents from Jessica and Rice. Rice is all in on this. 

So when she said, "You know, we don't plan on dying at all, but it's nice to know that if we did, our kids would have people who really GOT them." 

Cue tears that I hid until I got off the phone. What an insane compliment. And yeah, I love her quirky kids. Obviously it's not at all the same as having our own, but it's wonderful to have kids we can be silly with and maybe, when this stupid pandemic is over, can do Camp Jessica and Rice and give my best friend and her husband some alone time while their kids go nuts at our house sometime. 

It felt good to know that even though I don't have kids, I really do "get" kids, even ones who aren't my students. I think this might go down as one of the best New Year's Eves, ever.


  1. Hahaha that handstand simulation pic!! I love it. Thank you for sharing. <3

    Yes, you "get" kids. It's obvious from how you write about your students and other kids you love. It's a great gift of yours. Kids definitely need more adults in their lives that understand them. You are incredible.

    1. You are so welcome! I tricked her at first, and even myself when I looked at it fast, but NO. Could never do a cartwheel, let alone a handstand.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I love what you said, "Kids definitely need more adults in their lives that understand them." That is totally a goal of mine. Make kids feel understood. <3

  2. I dub this the feel-good post of the week. Maybe month. If pressed, there's no way I could choose a favorite selfie of yours -- each one is my favorite, one that made me smile ear to ear with your playful energy.

    And that capstone compliment. So beautiful and so true. Love the idea of Camp J&R.

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad it brought some sunshine. I feel like I am always willing to sacrifice my personal dignity for a laugh... :) I really hope we can make Camp Jessica and Rice a thing before these kids are in college. I think that would be so much fun.

  3. Happy New Year!

    I had a smile on my face the entire time. Eaht a wonderfully spirited way to spend an evening.

    1. Happy New Year to you! I'm so glad it made you smile! It was definitely spirited. I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time, and it made me feel all kinds of spry, even if I can't actually do a handstand. :)

  4. I agree, that is really lovely - the interaction with the kids (who wouldn't have kept it going if they had been bored!), and the compliment. A fabulous way to keep very special relationships with the kids, and your friends.

    1. Thank you! I don't actually have young nieces and nephews, since Bryce is an only child and my sister married a man with a 12 and 16 year old and so those nephews are already in their 20s. I love these relationships with these silly kids. It feeds the soul, you know? And I don't mind being a crazy auntie who can enjoy these moments and then go back to our regularly scheduled programming. :)

  5. Love this post! Sounds like a wonderful New Year’s!

  6. Hilarious photos! I am so glad you have developed such a great connection with these kids. I totally agree that kids can benefit from other adults in their lives (besides their parents) who truly take an interest in them.