The Tangential Thinker

Stack of gifts

Thomas Northcut

So, my three children Cranky, Whiny and Punch are now 13, 12 and 10 respectively. That puts them at the blissful ages where they aren’t licking sockets or taping board games to their arms, but they also are not driving or dating (as far as I know). I also have three godchildren ranging in age from 2 to 13. As we all know, the role of a godparent is to provide an additional moral compass for a child—the cruise control for the parenting car, if you will. Of course if you ask my children, they will tell you godparents are there for one reason and one reason only: extra presents. I must admit that’s a much more tangible, accessible role, and one at which I want to be really good.

    Last week my goddaughter, ‘Mischief,’ turned 6. She used to be the easiest child to shop for—anything pink or princess-y, and she was in heaven. Then it happened: She appeared one evening in low-rise jeans, a Before & Again T-shirt with peace signs all over it and a retro, beaded necklace. Who was this little flower child and what had she done with Miss Pretty in Pink? More important, how can I buy her love if I can’t figure out what she likes?

    To further complicate things, the desires of a kindergartener are often at odds with the desires of a kindergartener’s parents. I remember cringing watching Cranky open a jewelry-making kit or a finger-painting set (as her godmother looked on in delight). As a godparent, however, I can’t let that concern me. My primary objective is to deliver a slamming birthday gift, and if that means spilling nail polish on the Oriental rug or clogging a sink with sea monkeys, so be it.

    So I finally settled on a gift for little Mischief. I don’t want to say what it was, but I see a lot of her T-shirts getting a lot more colorful in the near future. And sure one day, she may need advice about a boy or a bully and I’ll be happy to help, but for now, I am perfectly happy just being a fairy godmother.  LN

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