So Jeff has one more cool factor point ahead of me in the parenting department. Alison found out about his international thief status the other day and is so impressed she can't stand it.
The worst part is that it's entirely my fault. Ali and I were studying for her social studies test this week and it had to do with Russia, which involved communism which involved the fall of the Berlin wall.
"You know we have a piece of that wall," I said, sure she'd roll her eyes and say, "Yes I know, Mom. You've already told me that story.".
"What?!" she said.
"You've seen it a million times. It's next to my piece of coal back from when we were coal moguls," I said in a half-hearted attempt to remind her that I am responsible for us having a cool rock in the house, too.
"Where did it come from?" she asked -- not at all interested in the home-grown rock but dazzled by the overseas, man-made specimen.
"You should let your dad tell you the story," I said. "But back when he was in the Army, he got a piece of the wall. He could have gotten way in trouble, too."
"Cool," she said.
So yesterday morning, she finally saw her father long enough to have a conversation. He's had a lot of late nights working the past couple of weeks. And for some of that I use the term "working" loosely. I reminded her to ask him about the piece of the wall.
So he launches into the saga of when he and a buddy were in Berlin and noticed that a new building was going up near the wall. A pile driver was making a bunch of rhythmic noise as part of a new building construction project.
You can just see them look at each other, look at the pile driver and look at the wall. So, they somehow arm themselves with some hand tools and in violation of about seven U.S., East German, AND West German laws, treaties and/or regulations, they snuck down a deserted, dead-end alley and waited for the pounding of the machine.
They timed their own hammers and chisels to wrest away pieces of the historic barrier.
"Were you wearing your uniform?" she asked, eyes all agog.
"Oh good heavens no," he said said, fondling his graffiti-covered rock totally transfixed in his stroll down his crime-ridden memory lane.
"We really shouldn't have been there, and I shouldn't be telling you this story because it was wrong," he said. "Really wrong. Like really wrong to break the law and I don't want you to think that it's OK."
"Yeah," she said, totally in love with the idea and strolling arm and arm with him in Berlin. "And you're an attorney, too!"
I may have rolled my eyes. I might have even considered asking him if he'd violated any other international treaties or laws or guidelines and wanted to share those escapades with our pre-teen.
But I didn't. Cause I'm a good wife and an even better mother. "(Ha!)
Ali wanted to take the rock to school to show it off but she's fretting that it'll get her father arrested. I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations has run out by now but maybe we'll stay out of Germany just to be safe...
So yeah. He's a super cool international thief. Way ahead of me in the favorite parent of the week.
I'm just the one who made sure she had lunch, got picked up from school and had underwear that fits. And hid from the storm with her in the basement. And helped her through an incident at school with a friend who wasn't being very friend-like.
But as we worked through the friend issue -- I'm proud to say she came up with the solution on her own -- she did turn to me and say through her tears, "Thanks for helping me with this, Mom. I really appreciate it."
I jest from time to time about Jeff being cooler than I am. I'm not actually bitter. To quote the universally regarded philosopher, Popeye, "I am what I am." And I'm totally OK with it.
Together, the captain and I seem to make a pretty good team most of the time. We're pretty far away from perfect, but we tend to fill in each other's gaps whether it's about Alison or housework or anything else that comes our way. We're very fortunate, and I think she is, too.
Now, if she turns out to be an international thief, or even a domestic one, I'm totally blaming him.