Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kenny Speaks His Mind

"The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children." King Edward VIII

It's my nephew's birthday. He's 23 and already well on his way to a brilliant future. Yet today I'm thinking about his childhood. Because it's 20 years since my most favorite Kenny Story.

We're all convinced Kenny developed a mind of his own in the womb. And has been acting on it ever since.

He was one of those precocious little kids who had thoughts, ideas and a vocabulary far beyond his years. His wheels were constantly turning, processing, sorting, absorbing.

We never knew what questions he'd ask or what he might say. For sure we didn't realize how much he also listened.

The Walk in the Woods Story

Kenny was 3 years old. My sister Betsy, a high powered New York attorney who traveled all over the world, was not home as much as Kenny might have wished.

But on a beautiful fall weekend at their upstate vacation home, she took him for a walk in the woods. A perfect mother-son bonding experience.

They sat down under a tree and discussed nature, the environment, world politics (I'm kidding, but only a little).

Eventually Betsy decided it was time to go. Kenny wanted her to carry him home.

"I'm not carrying you," she said. "You're a big boy. You're too heavy."

"I'm just a little boy," he insisted. "I can't walk. It's too far."

"If it's that far, then I definitely can't carry you," she shot back. "You managed to walk out here, you can walk home."

"No!" his baby face screwed up with determination. "If you don't carry me, I'm not leaving!"

It was a stand-off. Betsy knew the argument would only escalate if she allowed it to continue.

"Okay, fine," she said. "You can stay here alone. I'm walking home."

No response. 3-year-old Kenny remained defiantly planted under the tree, arms hugging his knees.

Betsy turned and began walking, slowly enough to give him time to cool off and catch up.

After a few steps, his tiny voice floated behind her on the cool crystal air, almost, but not quite under his breath... "Asshole."

You gotta love a kid who speaks his mind.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious! What a funny story.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Marcy said...

Love this kid. He's gonna be a big success.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I hope Betsy fell down laughing. I did.

6:22 PM  

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