Yelling Over Lobster Dinner

I carpool with my fourth uncle Angus since his new job is in Ventura. Instead of going straight home yesterday night, he and his family took my parents and me to dinner. We went to the Chinese restaurant with the lobster special that I couldn’t go to two weekends ago. I think I was out with The Three B’s then.

For a table of five, this restaurant would give the first 3 lbs. of lobster for only $0.99/pound, and, only $4/pound thereafter. We ordered the four-pounder with noodles (which are nice since they soak up all the sauce). It was very good of Angus to treat us. He wanted to give thanks to my mom for taking care of Tracy and take me to this place since I’m such a big fan of those crustaceans.

My goddaughter Tracy talked constantly throughout. It was really cute. As with most kiddie conversations, the importance of the subjects was known only to her. I just offered a willing ear.

One topic stood out, however. “You haven’t been using my computer,” I said. She shrugs. “Is it because you’re afraid that I’ll get mad at you?” She said yes.

Several weeks ago, my parents began caring for Tracy until her father came home from work. Since she never gets a chance to play on my laptop when all the boys are around, I thought it was a great opportunity for her to enjoy the number of games that I have without them there hogging it. Angus warned her not to use my computer for fear that she might break it, but I told her it was okay. I showed her how to turn it on and access the different offline and online games. Before leaving for the gym that evening, I jokingly said “If you break it, I’ll kill you.” I stroked her chin and gave her a kiss goodbye.

She used my laptop that night, but couldn’t sleep when she got home because she thought she broke it somehow. She didn’t properly shut down Windows, but that was no big deal. Ever since then, she didn’t use it.

“Why are you so afraid?” I said at the restaurant last night. She shrugs her little girl shrug. “It’s not like I’m going to hit you. Have I ever hit you?”

“No.”

“If you break it, I might yell at you for a little bit but I wouldn’t hit you. I hardly even yell at you.”

“I remember the first time you yelled at me,” Tracy said.

“Oh really?” Wow. How significant was this memory to her for it to be ingrained in memory? “Do you remember why I yelled at you?”

“I painted your pants.”

“What?”

“I was using that bottle of white-out and I accidentally brushed it on your pants.”

“I don’t remember this,” I said. “How long ago was it?”

“I don’t know. Two years? One year?”

I am always amazed by what my little cousins remember. That is a fact that I should remember when I have my own children. What I say or do has an influence on them – more so when they adore and love you.

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