Billie: “Welcome to the dessert table! Unfortunately we are fresh out of sweets. But I do have some human souls. We got old man and new born! Two for one deal on the new born souls!”
Wednesday Addams is about to get us kicked out of this here bake sale.
Billie: “What was I born for?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
Billie: “WHAT. You’re my MOTHER. How could you not know what I was born for?!”
Me: “Well, I don’t know what you were born for because that’s something you get to decide. Were you born for saving the world? Or for bringing happiness to those who need it most? I can help you get there but, in the end, you have to choose.”
Billie: “Oh. I get it. Then I already know what I was born for.”
Me: “Oh, yea? What’s that?”
Billie: “I was born for creating art, being super intelligent, eating, and disrupting conversations. In that order, I think.”
Me: “Those are awesome things to be born for.”
Billie: “Oh, I know. Now let’s get weird and cuddle like cats.”
Me: (to Doug) “I kinda want a beer.”
Billie: “You can’t have one. That’s Dad’s super hero juice.”
Doug: “Uh. Maybe don’t say that? It kinda makes me sound like a bad dad.”
Billie: “Nope. It makes you sound like a dad. Just a dad. It’s natural. You’re fine.”
Billie: (whispering) “Father.”
Billie: “Faaaaaather. Father. FATHER.”
Doug: (Barely awake) “Hm? Yes, Billie?”
Billie: “How do you print pictures off your phone?”
Doug: (Goes right back to sleep)
Billie: “Father! Awaken father! This is important!”
Me: “Billie. Let us sleep. Why do you need to print pictures at 8am on a Saturday?”
Billie: “For the revolution, Mother. Father! Wake up! We revolt at noon! I need to print the pictures now!”
Me: “Wait. What revolution is happening?”
Billie: THE revolution, mother. The one that is happening in all of us.”
Me: “I’m going to need you to let us sleep. If you want a good revolution then we’re going to have to be rested.”
Billie: (throws her whole body on me hella dramatically) “THE REVOLUTION RESTS FOR NO ONE. NOW LET US GO, FATHER! TO THE PRINTERRR!!!”
Doug: (Still. Friggin. Sleeping.)
Billie: “Good point. You stay here. I’ll rally the troops.”
Watching Billie at gymnastics is probably one of my most favorite things. The other kids sit quietly and watch the coach execute a trick and Billie is 15 feet behind them doing the trick in the background- adding an extra cartwheel or hand flourish for additional flair.
While everyone stands in line for their turn at the bar, Billie is a flurry of motion- hands raised over her head, palms pressed toward the ceiling before slapping them to her thighs dramatically and throwing her head back.
She’s never not moving, not thinking about the movement. I watch her get lost in the spins and the flips and, while her body contorts and slams into the floor, her eyes are still. Calm. Quiet. It is this chaos where she goes to find peace. It’s her Church, her sanctuary.
And she’s hard to teach because of this. How do you teach a child a movement when they can’t stop moving? How do you prep them for a fall they’re already smacking into the ground? How can you teach them a routine when they’ve already made up four routines of their own in the time it took you to explain the first eight count? It’s teaching a tornado to tap dance.
And the teachers who get her? Who somehow penetrate the wall of wind and limbs and crazy and find the little human inside long enough to teach her how to tuck her chin to her chest or point her toes in that cartwheel? They warm me in the most complete way. They show me that, yes, my child can be tough. She can crazy and unruly and intense. But she can be all those things and still learn. She can be all those things and still thrive. She can be all those things and still be loved more than she can handle at times. She can be all those things. She is my tap dancing tornado.
Billie: “Hey Mom! Wanna hear a poem?”
“Sure! Go for it.”
Billie: “Love is an adventure
But please hear
That death is nearly everywhere”
“Whoa. Beautiful. Where did you get that?”
Billie: “From my head. I made it up.”
“Billie, my love, you are terrifying.
Billie: “Why, thank you! Thank you very much.”
Billie’s school had a movie night. I made Billie go home right after because it was late. She wanted to stay with her friends and play for a bit. She was stone silent on our walk to the car. I looked at her, “Are you mad at me?” I said while squeezing her hand affectionately.
“Not mad,” She says, “Just disappointed.”
Then she glares at me long and hard.
I laughed so intensely one of the parents asked me if I needed help.