When Slater was in second grade he asked me to never help him with his homework again. I gave him the wrong Roman Numeral for the number nineteen. It was the only one he missed on his test the next day. the. only. one. And I caught all kinds of hell for that but it got me out of homework and we both realized I'm not smarter than a second grader. It's okay. We're all good at different things. Roman numerals, not my thing.
So you can imagine how hilarious it was when last Monday I sat helping Jesse with her homework at Mom's kitchen table 'cause obviously I am so smart. she's in second grade. yes, I should have known better. She was forming contractions of words in the English language. yes, the only one I speak or write in some form every night. She was filling in blanks and under each blank would be the two words to be contracted. I had done okay on the first five although I was a little nervous starting to think about second grade and everything. She got it right. She wrote
d i d n ' t
because the two words underneath were
d i d
n o t.
Someone with more than a first grade education would have said, Good job, Jess.
Not me. Mississippi just asked me to move to Alabama.
I said, No Jesse.
She looked up at me all puzzled.
Look at it again, I said. I'm sure with my I'm so smart eyebrow raised.
She erased the correct answer, turned that pencil around and with some very neat handwriting she wrote
d i d ' n t.
I looked at it and started laughing.
She smiled and said, What, Aunt Shea?
Jesse, that cracks me up.
I really thought it was that until you wrote it. Then I remembered Slater wouldn't let me do homework after a certain point in second grade. Then I told her the story and she laughed with me. And Mom laughed. Jesse corrected my mistake and continued her homework once we settled down but I don't think she listened to a thing I said after that.
Later she made me go on a photo shoot she directed and I swear she climbed every tree but one.