In Which We Learn to Accept Our Limitations

Two actual conversations I had with my kids while driving.



Following are excerpts from actual conversations that took place in my car on two separate occasions this week.

CONVERSATION #1

Boy 1, in back seat: I have a unibrow.

Boy 2: No, you don’t.

Boy 1: Do so, look.

Me (driving): Honey, a unibrow is when your eyebrows go all the way across. There’s no space in the middle. One brow—get it?

Boy 1: Duh. I know what it is. I have one. There are hairs there, above my nose.

Boy 2: Of course you have hair there! Everyone has hair all over their body! Most of it is almost invisible.

Me: Usually, a person with a unibrow has very visible hairs, a thick brow, going all the way across. And yours, I can’t see it, so…?

Boy 2: Why do you care, anyway?

Boy 1: I have one. I WANT to have one!

Me: Why would you want to have one?

Boy 2: Because it’s rare!!

Me: Well, maybe someday you will have one dear. Of course, then you might change your mind about it…

CONVERSATION #2

Boy, in back seat: I can’t see my elbow! Oh my God!

Me (driving, again): Okay…

Boy: I can’t believe this. Why can’t I see it??

Me: Well… There are other parts of your body you can’t see.

Boy: Like?

Me: Like a freckle in the middle of your back. You’d have to look in the mirror.

Boy: No! I should be able to see my elbow.

Me: Um—How are you looking at it?

Boy: Like this!

Me (still driving): I can’t see what you’re doing.

Boy: Well, look!

Me: I have to look at the road!

Boy: Oh come on. Just look for a second.

Me: Not now. But try this (I stretch my arm out, and turn it, so my elbow is facing up.)

Boy: I still can’t see it. This sucks!

Me: Okay, try bending it behind you, like this.

Boy: Oh! Now I can! I can see it! I can see PART of it. But I still can’t see the pointy part!

Me: You know what, I think you’re just going to have to accept that for now. I know it’s tough…

Boy: You should write your blog about that.

Me: Oh! About accepting things? About how sometimes things are the way they are, and there’s nothing we can do about it, so it’s good to just try to be okay with it? That’s a great idea!

Boy: No, not that! That wouldn’t be funny. Blogs are supposed to be funny. Write it about not seeing your elbow all the way.

Me: Um. Okay! Great idea, thanks…

For more from Paula Whyman, see www.paulawhyman.com and her online parody newspaper www.bethesdaworldnews.com.

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About This Blog

“Semi-Charmed Life is a blog about my personal impressions of life in the Maryland suburbs and the greater D.C. Metropolitan Area. How’s that for giving myself permission to write about anything? There we go: It’s a blog about anything. Please stay tuned.”

Paula Whyman is an award-winning writer who grew up in Montgomery County. Her stories can be found in literary journals and anthologies, and her humor essays have appeared in The Washington Post and on National Public Radio. She is working on a novel. Plus, she can teach any dog to sit.

For more on Paula and her work, see www.paulawhyman.com. Also see Bethesda World News, the parody newspaper founded by Paula’s alter ego, Isabel Brooke.

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