Saturday, May 29, 2010

What Ho New Brunswick!

I always knew instinctively that my time touring the U.S. with a rock and roll band would be called AMERICA AND A BROAD. The problem was I could never figure who the broad was. There were many candidates to be certain, ex-wives, former girlfriends and lovers, friends and acquaintances, all equally important in the development of your humble (hardly) narrator but none that were "the broad". Then it came to me one day in the operating theater while my wife was giving birth. The my daughter.
Now before I am inundated with mail about how despicable it is to call one's female progeny a "broad". let me clarify that the vast majority of women in my life have been broads. My mother is a broad, so is my wife (a broad on eight wheels with teammates but a broad just the same). My Auntie Val, a champion and voice to those who don't have nearly enough of a voice of their own and without a doubt the smartest member of my side of the family, is a broad. When I went to the hospital to visit my grandmother, lying in bed, dying of cancer and bright yellow from a failing liver, I asked her how she was to which she replied, "not licked yet, I'm a pretty tough old broad." And she was, absolutely.
I have never considered broad to be a derogatory term. Rather to me it means a woman who has come into her own, figured it out and can stand on her own two feet thank-you very much. Without the aid or necessity of anyone else. Tough and self assured, genuine on her own terms. To that end, I hope my daughter is as much a broad as she already seems to be.
But I'm rambling, this isn't about me, it's about a four year old girl who is as wise as anyone I have met, already smarter than me and most of my friends and just smart-assed enough to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, who her father is. I'm hoping to write this column, blog, screed or call it what you will on a weekly basis, though if I had more time it could be daily, there is never a shortage of material from my muse.

My little girl has always know how to swear. Big surprise right? Not in the usual kids manner of adding it randomly to their growing lexicon no, from the very beginning she used the words in the correct tense and context. There was a time very early on in her speech development when she couldn't say the word but we absolutely knew what she meant when she couldn't find something and went about the house shouting "Firk it!"
A while ago, my wife and stepson were out shopping and Isobel had made the leap from random scribbling on bits of paper, the kitchen cabinets, the cat and anything else she got near with a crayon, to random scribbling in an actual colouring book. She was beside herself and wanted to share this new found mastery of art with the world.
"Look Daddy, I can colour in my colouring book. See I coloured blue." She must have said that to me exactly twice before she decided I was old hat and she was on to her real goal. Now she could come off the porch and run with the big dogs. Now she could colour with her older brother.
"Oh boy Daddy, me and Chase are colour and colour." she crowed. She was positively glowing.
She went about setting the perfect scene that lies within the two year old mind. Two colouring books laid out side by side at the kitchen table, two boxes of crayons and coloured pencils to prevent any arguing about over usage of any one particular colour -red I have found is the most sought after and fought over colour in the preteen colouring world. One glass of chocolate milk and one sippy cup of watered down apple juice placed lovingly atop two smiley faced place mats. Ok so I helped with the potential messy bits but it was Izzy's idea to have drinks, all in preparation for the first time she could connect with her brother on his level. She had mastered the colouring book and now Chase would be glad to play with her.
They had left in the early afternoon and now it was early evening. I don't know if there is such a thing as a patient two year old but such a one has never lived in this house. Isobel descended into three of the five stages of grief in about 2.6 seconds.
She screamed, "Daddy, Chase won't come home because he doesn't want to colour with me!" followed closely by "Oh why won't Chase get home? He won't ever get home, he doesn't like me." which went directly into "I will be Chase's forever best friend if he would just come home and colour with me." It was sad to watch and I was actually wondering to myself what could possibly be taking so long. I pulled up the blinds in the living room, part so she could see and part so I could. She stood patiently by the window, colouring book in hand.
When she flew toward the back door yelling, "Chase is home, Chase is home!" I knew she had seen them coming down the driveway and her moment had arrived. I was proud to watch her see it to fruition. The moments must have seemed like hours as Chase and Cyndi walked the twenty two feet from the driveway to the backdoor and I thought I saw Izzy shaking, just a little, with the anticipation of this crowning achievement. And then the moment came. The door opened and I cautioned Izzy to let Chase get his coat and shoes off before asking him. She stood in the doorway to the kitchen until he was finally ready.
"Chase," she said with a profound sense of readiness that I hadn't heard in her voice before, "would you like to colour with me?"
"No, I'm kind of tired and I'm just going to watch T.V." said Chase.
"God damn it." said Izzy, who threw down her colouring book in defeat and walked away.