July 26, 2013

Portrait of a lady

She sits at the kitchen table, all mismatched pajamas and rumpled breakfast hair. She’s eating raisins because we’re all out of blueberries and if she had her way the hours before noon would be devoted to a slow and sultry consumption of fruit.

“Mommy,” she says in that tone that tells me whatever she’s about to say will have absolutely nothing to do with anything. “Can you please stop calling me Trouble?”

I take a bite of my oatmeal and fill her water bottle for camp. “Sure, if it bothers you. But when I call you Trouble, I’m doing it ironically. Do you know what ‘ironic’ means?”

She shakes her head, picks up a raisin.

“Ironic is… ironic means… well, ironic is calling you Trouble because you’re not at all trouble.” Nicely done, Rosenbaum. I’ll be getting hate mail from her ninth-grade English teacher a decade from now.

Nonetheless, she seems to understand. It’s hard to tell with her, because just when you think she’s all Luna Lovegood, she pops out with Hermione. She nods, smiles, picks up her brownie. The brownie is there because she most certainly does not have her way. True, it’s a whole-wheat, maple-syrup sweetened, zucchini brownie, but I’m still probably the only mother in the area code who insists that her kid has to have a brownie with her fruit at breakfast.

“These brownies are really rich,” I say, cutting one to pack in my lunch.

“You’re just joking,” she giggles. “Brownies can’t be rich because they don’t have purses.”

“That’s true. But ‘rich’ is one of those words that has two meanings. It has the literal meaning of a lot of money, but it also has a metaphorical meaning.” And then, because I can’t resist fucking with that ninth-grade English teacher: “Do you know what ‘metaphorical’ means?”

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  • Reply alejna July 26, 2013 at 2:01 am

    This makes me happy in so many ways, Emily. I had to pinch myself when I saw a new post from you! (You know, metaphorically, at least. But I certainly did blink a few extra times, and double check the date and stuff.)

    The post itself is charming, and puts a big smile on my face. (Seriously, I am smiling.)

  • Reply Liz O July 26, 2013 at 10:41 am


    Spoken for that 9th grade teacher, as she revs up her CD player to debunk Alanis one more time…

    • Reply emily July 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

      But it IS ironic to call her Trouble. It’s just a bad explanation.

  • Reply timberdawn July 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Early this AM I was thinking I should send you a bit of a note. Just to let you know that I miss your writing, although I understand your decision completely. And to let you know that I still think of your family from time to time and hope that all is well. And then I open up my reader for my morning of vicarious living through those doing something besides wildlife watching, and here you are! Finding myself delighted! And in wildlife news, there is group – oh wait, I believe it is a rafter! Yes a rafter of jakes that wander through my yard on a daily basis. Earlier this week when I looked out the window, I saw some of them on the ground under the apple tree looking up. As I opened the door to invite them to move on, one flew out of the tree. Then a second one flew out of the tree, followed by a third. Much like little boys, they had been standing on the same branch jumping up and down (metaphor alert!) to knock more apples onto the ground. Which branch? Well, the one that they broke, of course. Have a great day!

  • Reply Issa July 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I love that you’re back and I’m laughing at the brownie.

  • Reply Sarah July 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Perfect use of ‘ironic,’ you. I am glad that someone out there still knows the difference between irony and coincidence.

    Your daughter sounds charming.

  • Reply fiwa July 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    🙂 I’ve been missing your writing. I know this doesn’t mean you’re picking up blogging again, but I’m just saying, I have missed your writing.

  • Reply Melanie July 26, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    so happy to see a post from you… I sure have missed them

  • Reply Lau July 27, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Loved this! So happy to see your name in my inbox! Do you have the brownie recipe? Sounds yummy!

  • Reply Brigid July 27, 2013 at 2:12 am

    That Luna Lovegood to Hermione transformation gets faster and more unpredictable the older they get. It simultaneously charming and scary as hell.

  • Reply Brigid July 27, 2013 at 2:13 am


  • Reply Lilian Nattel July 28, 2013 at 2:48 am

    What a nice surprise to see this in my reader! Luna Lovegood Hermione cross. Very interesting. 🙂

  • Reply Mary Mom July 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Reading your post this morning was like opening the window for a breath of fresh air.

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