Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lies My Mother Told Me

I am a very mean mom. And a liar. Just ask my son. He's keeping a list in his head of all the times and ways that I've fibbed, prevaricated, obfuscated, and otherwise misled him in his short life. There was the American Idol debacle he was 4 and, for reasons that have never been completely clear, frighteningly, scarily, unhealthily obsessed with the state of North Carolina. As you may recall, Season 2 of American Idol featured a showdown between Ruben Studdard and the Tarheel State's favorite son, Clay Aiken. My little Sammy was single-minded in his devotion. And when, as you no doubt recall, Ruben pulled out a nailbiter of a victory, Wisconsin's Littlest Claymate was inconsolable. Truly inconsolable. So I did what any good mother would. As Ruben stood in front of America, with confetti floating over his ample lapels, I told Sammy that Ruben and Clay tied.

This was, in my mind, the only humane thing to do to stop my hyperventilating, hysterical preschooler. But several years later, Sam learned the truth. And now, he says, I am a liar. I hid the real facts from him, and he won't let me forget it.

Fast forward several years. Emma and I are watching the first season of "Project Runway" on DVD. We all agree that the odious Wendy Pepper is a disaster. Emma and I know the results of the finale, but we decide not to spoil it for Sam. So we tell him that Wendy Pepper won. Sam is irate: How could they do that?? His anger simmers all through the Bryant Park runways and then, SURPRISE!, Jay wins, not Wendy!! I thought that this harmless little fib would keep from ruining the show for Sam. Apparently not: In his mind, this is Lie Number Two.

Which brings us to this past Sunday. I decided about a week ago to think about moving. It's actually something I've wanted to do for a while, but never seemed like it would be feasible. But after a consult with a carpenter who told us that it would cost $40,000 to rebuild our porch into a 4-season room, moving to an actually bigger place started to make a lot more sense. The rest of the family is more or less onboard. Matt thinks I'm crazy, but whatever. But Sammy, the guy who said he would never move from our house because no other house would have the same white ceiling fan he has in his room, Sammy is not ok with the plan.

So I started checking out open houses in nearby neighborhoods, while Sam turned paler and paler shades of gray and looked unhappier and unhappier. He said the new neighborhoods freaked him out, because he heard they did things like send "welcome to the neighborhood" letters, which he found creepy.

That's when I hatched my plan. I created a fake email address from the "Welcome to the Welcoming Committee" of a neighborhood we're considering. And I sent him this letter. To fully appreciate it, you need to know that Sam can neither swim nor ride a bike, and that I do harass him all the time about going to my old high school, West, instead of, Memorial, the one we're districted for and where Emma goes.

*Name of neighborhood poorly disguised in case we do end up moving there:

Congratulations! I heard through a "friend" that your parents are talking about maybe possibly moving, and that they might move to Sunnyvale*! You must be so excited!!! After all, nothing could be better than moving to Sunnyvale!! All your friends are here, and the streets are flat for bicycle riding all around!! Plus, you know how much you like swimming?? Well, we have a pool!! The adults in Sunnyvale love to drink alcohol, a lot, but since they all live next door to each other you don't have to worry about what that pesky Officer Emily says about them driving cars afterwards!

But you know what the best thing about moving to Sunnyvale is? You guessed it: It's the Letter!! Yes, you get a Letter. Welcoming you to Sunnyvale. I'm sure you've heard that we have an email listserv, too, to keep each other up to date on the most important information. But nothing compares to the Letter. It's friendly and warm, welcoming and full of good cheer, much like all the folks in Sunnyvale. It's sort of like an outdoor cookout with margaritas for your soul. See? I can tell you're feeling better already!

Don't worry, this isn't the last letter you'll get. This is what we like to call the "congratulations on maybe making the best decision of your life by even thinking about possibly moving to Sunnyvale" letter. Don't ask me how we know this, we just know. If you actually move to Sunnyvale, we will send you another letter, even more glorious than this one. You can frame them both and hang them on your wall in your new room in Sunnyvale.

Oh, and one more thing: Sunnyvale is actually WALKING DISTANCE to Memorial High School. You know how your mom keeps bothering you about transferring to West? (Don't ask us how we know, we just do.) It's pretty annoying when she does that, isn't it? Well, moving to Sunnyvale would put your fears (and her incessant, mindless, chatter about that inferior school) to rest. You could go to sleep every night knowing that the World's Greatest High School is right outside your window. No way your mom could try to send you anywhere else for high school. She'll have to go down to some elitist coffee shop or something to sing her stupid "West" song. We won't let her sing it in Sunnyvale.

So that's about it. I need to let you go so you can start packing your bags. You'll want to be ready to go on a moment's notice when you get the news: It's time to load up the van... for Sunnyvale!

Comfortably superiorly yours,

The Welcome to the Welcoming Committee

See? That wasn't so mean, was it? But Sam was a little wigged out. He thought it was very 1984 of "Sunnyvale" to know so much about his innermost thoughts. Eventually, I had to tell him because he was just getting more and more freaked out and morose about the whole thing. He's better now. It's just more fodder for his inevitable tell-all memoir.