My daughter Angela wants to know why Rodney and Kerri slip and call me Rabbit from time to time. I tell her it's because I used to have bucked teeth. She says she thinks the name is cute and that I was probably still really cute with my teeth like that. She's a sweet girl.
It's cold and drizzly this evening. Work wasn't too bad, but the commute home was a mess. I can't complain too much though. I'm with my favorite girl in our cozy kitchen and we have heat again. I'm sick of that boiler. It might be time to replace it. I am not complaining, though. I'm not complaining. I have to focus on the good. The good is that I'm boiling milk on the stove to make hot chocolate. With marshmallows. Angela thinks it tastes better to make it with water like the packet says. Kids. They always know better.
She's on one of her teenage rants that aren't really rants, but just a stream of angst and curiosity as to how things really work in the world. They're sometimes black and white - which we know is not always the world we live in, and they're filled with a naivete that is refreshing in the age of too-grown and too-fast and too-rude little girls who jump at the chance to snap back instead of listening.
I stop her. "Say that again...please."
"When Aunt Say took me to see my "father" he wasn't as bad as I thought. He was very nice to me." She put her fingers up in quotation marks when she said, father. But it still makes me sick that the courts have agreed to this. And I'm always suspicious of Rodney being very nice. I always see it as a trap.
"What do you mean, he was nice to you?"
"He told me that I looked pretty. That I didn't look like him at all, which was a good thing. Oh, and he said you were always nice to him when you were kids. Then you got mad at him."
"Do you remember why I got mad at him?"
"Mom, are you ever going to forgive him?"
Here's that seeing things in black and white thing I was telling you about. She just doesn't get it. I don't have that in me, right now; the forgiveness. My daughter is the spitting image of me with Barrus cheekbones. My angel, my Angela, looks as much like him as she does me. I don't love her any less for this. And his charm is sickening, especially because she's so gullible and wanting to see the good in him. I want to smack her back down to earth for talking to me about forgiveness when all I want to do is protect her from him.
"You don't answer a question with a question."
"Well, are you?"
"Hypocrite," she mumbles as she stirs her cocoa.
"What did you say?" You know how you absolutely heard what the person said, but you ask them again, like to dare them? Yes. I did that.
My daughter stops stirring her cocoa. She doesn't look directly at me, so as not to really challenge me or be disrespectful. But she doesn't shrink back either.
"It's just that you're always in your bible reading and quoting and writing it on your Facebook. But you won't forgive him. You're a hypocrite."
"You're fourteen. You don't have the right to judge me."
"Nope. You're right. As usual."
She sips. Like Kermit.
I can't stand her. And I love her.
But I am going to be a hypocrite today.
Today is all I can be concerned with.