there was a picture in the mass of moving this round that had no frame and just lots of blue electric tape on the back trying to be a makeshift holder.
julie newman gave that picture to us from her house a really, really long time ago. i remember the negotiation that wasn’t really like a negotiation. she showed it to us. they nonchalantly talked about like, fifty bucks, whatever. julie newman was always excited to see me and always called me things like dollface and honey, but in a way that was not like usual and condescending but so sweetly endearing. she gave me a hair clip with italy on the back and a bear that smelled like lavender when you put it in the microwave.
she came to the wedding and she said she was proud of me, but didn’t know if she had a right to be. OF COURSE YOU DO!! i tell her this and it comes from a place of reality. she has no idea how often i wear that hair clip.
she talks about how her sons are doing a different life route than my brothers, how they are marines and away from her. she says all this with smiles and faith. she has a blonde streak in the front and i love her for coming here to be with our family on this big day after so long away. it doesn’t matter how many months it’s been since she’s talked to my mom on the phone, how many years of height growth she’s missed from cameron and eric—she is in our lives and she has a right to feel proud of the good things we do. we are her pseudo-kids.
every grown up should have a pseudo-kid. someone else’s child they have a big hand in nurturing and loving and bringing up. a kid who came over every other day to get snacks out of your ample sweets cupboard, billowing with folds of plastic orange reeses wrappers and blue crinkles of chips ahoy. or a kid like i was to julie newman where we only visited her every so often, but i would just sit quietly and listen to her energy while she told mom about the latest. i never was big into playing as a child. i wanted to sit and listen to grown up talk more, i guess.
every kid should have a pseudo-parent, too. kids need lots of good adults who can also spoil their dinner, and give them presents their parents would never think of. hug them ridiculously tight and shower them with cheek smooches even if the boys squirm away.
i’m thinking lately about being a pseudo-parent. taking in the neighbor kids and kissing their cheeks raw. julie newman always kisses our cheeks. i liked that.
i liked that.