A few years ago my son Michael and his wife Meredith were invited by the FOX network to go to the Super Bowl and Terry and I were invited to babysit our two grandchildren Jack, age eight, and Brooklyn, age eleven. I have such fun with these two! (They're probably 2 and 5 in this photo.
The first night we were with them, when it was bedtime they both wanted me to tell them a bedtime story. Since they slept in separate rooms I sat in the hallway with the light on so they could both see me if they sat up and it was easy for them to hear me. I love to make up bedtime stories because I never know what I’m going to say myself. I guess I should say Nelly (my inner child) loves to hear my stories or maybe she’s the one who makes them up? Whatever, I love to do it.
Here's the story I told that night:
Rabbit Ears, Elephants, and Donkeys
Once upon a time there was a wonderful family that was happy and healthy. There was a mom and a dad and a boy, eleven and a girl eight. (I reversed the ages for the story so the kids wouldn’t think this story was about them.) The family lived way out in the country and the mom homeschooled the two children (neither of them knew what that was). There was one small, genetic problem with the family; they were born with bunny ears. Beautiful, long soft bunny ears. The parents raised the children to be thankful for their ears. They showed them pictures of human ears and of course their ears were much better looking because human ears are just plain ugly!
One day the parents told the children that Mom was going to have to go to work and she would no longer be able to home school them and they would have to go to public school. They explained to the children that when they got in school there probably would be some children who would be mean and tease them about their bunny ears, but that they should just ignore them.
Sure enough, on the first day of school, the boy was out on the playground and a nasty, mean girl came up to him and said, “Hey rabbit ears, want a carrot?” The boy ignored the wicked girl, but she wouldn’t relent. “Hey, can’t you hear with those big ears or are you just stupid?” She was just one of those people who is intolerant of people’s differences.
At this point in my story, Jack, my sweet eight-year-old love, said, “Was she a republican?”
Now I was already sitting on the floor so I didn’t have far to fall in my hysterics! I laughed till I couldn’t breathe and then I said, “Jackie, did you know I’m a republican?” Both children sat up in bed and stared at me as if I’d said, “Did you know I’m a witch and I'm going to eat you alive?”
When their liberal parents came home, I forgot to tell them about the incident, but a few weeks later I was on the phone with Michael and remembered to tell him what happened. He laughed and said, “You know Jack came to me a few days after you guys left and said, ‘Dad, did you know Gramma’s a republican?’ I told him I did.”
Then I said, “Michael, you know it might just be the right time to explain to the children that we need to respect each other’s differences. You'd have thought I'd confessed to murder with the shocked reaction I received.” It was quiet on the phone.
I love America! I am a republican and some of my best friends are democrats. My husband is a democrat and our votes probably cancel each other out, but that’s what makes this country great! We can never go too far left or right. If you are a democrat, be nice to a republican today. If you are a republican, be nice to a democrat today. That’s all I’m ever going to say about politics.
A fun book I wrote for kids "Lettuce Bee Silly" is a great book to read at bedtime. It'll send your kids off to Dreamland for some happy dreams. Just click on the silly cover to purchase.