28 August 2013

Super Friends

Last weekend, the Captain and I had dinner with our dear friends Janet and June. I say "our friends," but I only married into the friendship. The Captain's relationship with the twins predates ours by eight years. At this point (twenty-eight years in) I feel like I'm an equal partner because I could probably recount their childhood hijinks like I was in cahoots. But every so often I'm reminded they have a whole history that doesn't include me.

It does, however, feature Captain America, Superman, Batman, the Flash, and a whole slew of superheroes from universes I didn't even know existed. To this day I can't tell you the difference between the Marvel and D.C. characters. I mean, I sat through the 3D version of "The First Avenger" because I love my Captain and Chris Evans is easy on the eyes, but I'm never going to have a meaningful discussion about how "Man of Steel" broke Superman's cardinal rule. (He never kills anyone. But now that I think about it, maybe he doesn't kill humans, which would make it okay to kill aliens. But they're really his race so that wouldn't work either. That's all I've got.)

The twins can wax poetic on all things Comic-Con. I lack this gene, as was apparent during the conversation bandied about the table the other night.

June: "Okay, three wishes. What do you ask the genie?"

Captain: "I want Flash's super-speed."

Janet: "That would be awesome if you could have his metabolism, too."

Captain: "Right? I could eat this whole meal in like three seconds, travel around the world and come back and eat it all over again."

Janet: "It must take a tremendous amount of energy to be that fast. You must have to eat all the time."

June: "How long does it take him to circumnavigate the Earth?"

Captain: "About a second."

June and Janet: "No. That can't be true."

All three smartphones access Safari.

Janet: "One-tenth of a second."

Captain (smugly): "See?"

Me: "Three wishes? I don't know, I think I'd ask for my children to not have any disabilities, that there be no poverty in the world..."

Captain: "Well, sure. But with the third wish, it would definitely be super-speed. Hey, speaking of genies, did you guys see that picture of Barbara Eden? She's, like, 80 and she wore the costume again for a charity event."

Accesses picture on the smartphone. Passes it around the table.

June: "That is not the same costume, but she does look great. You know what never made sense to me? Jeannie and Major Nelson never got together."

Captain: "In real life or on the show? Because I'm pretty sure Larry Hagman tried to get with Barbara Eden."

Janet: "I never saw the appeal in Jeannie."

Captain: "That's because you weren't a teenage boy."

Janet: "No, she just wasn't very smart. I much preferred Samantha Stevens."

June: "Wouldn't it be great to pop in and out of people's houses? I would visit you guys every day!"

Captain: "Right now I have to visit the restroom. Okay, I'm back!"

June: "That super-speed is amazing!"

It's a blessing to have friends that stay with you your whole life--through the good, the bad, and all the Star Wars films.  And I, who has no recollection whatsoever of Antman, am especially grateful the Captain still has his homegirls in his life. In the immortal, altered words of Jerry Maguire, "They complete him." 

June and Janet are more than Wonder Twins. They're Wonder Women.

12 August 2013


I am lying in bed with Five. Our old bedtime routine has become new again because four months ago Five wanted to kill himself and I will do anything to make him better. So, each night Four and Five climb in my bed and I snuggle with them. I really just curl up next to Five because he needs to be in the middle, to combat fears he won't name.

We are waiting for Four to finish brushing his teeth and join us. I hug Five and kiss his neck, loudly.

"Wow, that was some smooch, Mom."

I do not believe I have ever used the word "smooch" to describe kissing to him.

"I know, " I say, "it was really loud."

"Serious smooching. Like in a cartoon, with people in love."

I kiss him again.

"Wait, let me try and smooch you," he says.

I am delighted. Five has never been a great kisser. He doesn't purse so much as press his lips. But really, I'm just in it to hear him say "smooch" one more time. I offer my cheek. There is slight pressure, and a resultant soft pop.

"Not as loud as yours," he says.

"But pretty good!" I offer.

Four walks around to "his" side of the bed. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Mom was smooching me. It was really loud, like on a show."

"Ohhhwa," he says, disappointed. "I want a kiss!"

I sit up and kiss him and he lays back down, head on the mattress just below the pillow. He never uses one, while Five spends half the night flipping his to keep it cool. I reach across Five to hold Four's hand because he has autism and feels left out all the way over there. Five knows this.

"Move over, Four," he says, "so we can all be together."

He does, pushing his back up against Five. I can almost get my arm across his belly, prominent and soft from years of medication. The fan hums noisily, inadequately pushing the air. After a few minutes, Five kicks a leg out from under the covers and Four rolls away from my outstretched hand.

I'm only supposed to stay a few minutes because we're trying to make the new routine the old routine once again. But Four has autism and Five wanted to die, so I pull them closer and let myself drift off to the sound of tree frogs singing.