Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
Just try your best, try everything you can
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away — Jimmy Eat World
17°F. 8:59 a.m. We were not late. The sky spit some kind of frozen crap at the windshield and Quinn sucked a huge snuffly-sad breath in the rear seat. “I want the itty-bitty song,” he bleated, lost in the morose tragedy of the injustice that is his little brother NOT going to school while he GOES to school.
Nate merrily detailed the whip cream he would consume at the coffee shop where we had a Listen To Your Mother meeting scheduled until Quinn whapped him one across the shoulder in whip cream-induced rage. I fiddled with the radio nervously; pitching advertising makes me tense. Icy roads make me tense. I hate rejection and also car accidents. Who doesn’t? “No hitting, uh-uh, tell him sorry.”
“SORRY,” he barked in the least sorry voice possible and turned to the stare at the ice-fall, sobbing. “It’s not fair, he gets to stay with you. It’s not fair.” It’s hard to be in the middle, not with the big kids, not a little kid. I get it. I’m in the middle too, Quinn, not out of toddler-world, done with babies. Kids almost in school, not in a career.
“I want the itty-bitty song,” he whined, “it makes me feel better.”
I wracked my brain, the itty-bitty song? “How does it go, Quinner?”
“You know. Try your best; Little bitty in the middle.” Ah, yes, one of my favorite, impromptu, I-can’t-take-the-whining-another-second, car dance party songs. You have to be familiar with my bastardized lyrics. I don’t care for the original.
It just takes some time
Little bit of in the middle, after a while (Stacey’s version, not correct.)
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be alright, alright
“Are you in the middle?” I laughed, cranking the volume.
“I’m in the middle of mad.”
They’re good lyrics. They make me feel better too.
Hey, you know they’re all the same
You know you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in
Live right now, yeah, just be yourself
It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else.
If I don’t teach my children emotional regulation, or decent cooking skills, or religion, or even that “god DAMN it” is not appropriate in polite company, I am proud to have taught them one important thing: NEVER underestimate the power of a good dance party.
The business may sponsor our Spokane LTYM production. Nate had whip cream. And Quinn?
He tried his best. The little bitty middle’s not so bad, especially when it comes with a coupon for ice cream.