Of Fake Men and Fairly Wonderful Godmothers

Where did those 22 years go?

Dear Anne,

When we first met, back in the Stone Age, if someone had told us we’d be the godmothers to each others’ children, we might have looked at each other and said, “Who? HER?” And I know we wouldn’t have believed that 17 years would separate my oldest child and your youngest. But last weekend, watching our youngest interact with your kids at darling Ashby’s first communion, I think I realized the genius in our “planning” such an age gap. And I definitely saw why, when it came time to choose a godmother for my boys, I said “Yes! HER!”

I shouldn’t have been surprised that our 22 year old “baby” wanted to come to Houston with us for the celebration. He’s always loved your kids and I know the feeling is mutual. Though perhaps it had been more like idol-worship from the young ones. I remember you saying a few years ago that Ashby probably would would prefer a poster of Peter on her wall over Justin Bieber! But as I’ve written before, Peter hasn’t been the most cheerful and lighthearted soul the last few years, so I wondered how this trip would go.

We walked into your house and Peter was instantly swooped up by Liam, leading him into his “Bro Cave” to play video games. Apparently the bonding went well, because later that evening, at the beer garden (some things never change, but in our defense, it was very kid friendly) Liam put his hand on Peter’s shoulder and pronounced him “the only one in this house that really gets me”. Apparently being a grownup who remembers fire Pokemon and has a working knowledge of video games earns you high praise in his world.

Though I think Ashby saw through the whole “Peter-as a-grownup” thing. On our beach trip a couple of years ago, she dubbed my then-24-year-old twins the “fake men”. (They might be big like her daddy and Uncle Dave, but those guys don’t sleep in and spend all their time on their phones.) When we told this story at your communion brunch, Peter chuckled and said, “I’m happy to be a fake man for a while.” The natural acknowledgment of his “in-betweenness” touched my heart.

Last weekend, your kids brought out the kid in my “fake man”, who has been stressed recently by the“almost-manly” concerns of exams, finding a summer job and an finding an apartment.  Your kids brought him simple pleasures not usually part of the often self-centered college life. Liam’s guileless comments and sometimes-not-very-PC jokes had Peter in stitches. He seemed touched by the first communion, 50 children entering more fully into our faith unstained by the cynicism and egotism that often pulls young adults away from the Church. And I don’t think he has spent many other Saturday nights playing Disney-themed Clue. It was a blessing to see him so relaxed.

Ashby seems much more excited by this than Peter!

See how smart we were to have our kids almost a generation apart? When yours get to the late teen years and need to get out of their own heads and their self-absorbtion, I’ll probably have grandchildren to soften their hearts (or at least to distract you from your misery). And when my grandchildren are annoying my kids (one can dream of such things) and in need of some non-parental guidance, Liam and Ashby will be there for them. Such a genius system we’ve got gong here.

Mother’s Day morning gave me a glimpse of that non-parental guidance in action.  As Peter handed me a pink gift bag sheepishly saying, “I had help”, I remembered the stop you made the day before at Walgreens. Hubby and I stayed the car with the kids, and I noticed Peter jump out to follow you before I was distracted by an important “discussion” of proper personal space in the third row seat. (Apparently kids still think being looked at is a violation. Glad things haven’t changed that much in 25 years.)

As I opened the bag, I realized that not only did you make sure he bought me a card at that stop, but you went above and beyond for him. Inside was a bracelet, perfectly selected for my love of bridge.  You must have gotten it to give me for my birthday, or Christmas, but you chose to give it to him. Well played, godmother, and I’m sure his future wife thanks you for the life lesson! As they move through the stages to come–the teen years for yours, marriage and career for mine–our kids will need that support from the adults in their lives and a reminder of a simpler past from the children.  I’m glad we planned it so well for them!



3 thoughts on “Of Fake Men and Fairly Wonderful Godmothers

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