better than normal

Lately it seems like I write mostly about Six; he is a reliable source of blog fodder.

This morning we were out running errands, including buying him the umpteenth pencil sharpener to replace yet another he’d lost at school. We were walking along the street and I was probably annoying him with all my talk about responsibility and making more of an effort to keep track of his sweatshirts, which are part of the school uniform (the boys have lost one each so far this year), and the materials his teachers require him to have for school. I tried to keep it short, but clearly it was not short enough because his response was:

“I wish I had a normal mommy.”

“You don’t think I’m a normal mommy?”

“HA! No! And I like normal mommies better.”

“What are normal mommies like?”

“Like Francesco’s mommy. And Luca’s mommy. Those are normal mommies. Zeno’s mommy.”

“What makes me different? Is it because I’m not Italian?”

“NO! It’s because you’re NOT NORMAL! Hmph! UNDERSTAND?”


“Actually, no. I don’t understand. What is it about me that is not normal? What don’t you like?”


“No, I don’t understand at all.”

At which point Nine quietly intervened. “She’s normal,” he said.

And I think I would have found it more comforting if normal had been what I’ve been aiming for all this time. Just normal?

Rarely have I ever aimed for normal. Different, maybe. Authentic, definitely. Extraordinary, oh, if only.

Preferred by my children, yes please.


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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4 Responses to better than normal

  1. I Say Oui says:

    From your writing, I’d say you’re authentic. 🙂

  2. Aunt Patti says:

    Your children are the best!!!!! And, you are just uniquely you – and we love you for that!

  3. jadie says:

    Normal mommies just laugh, ha ha ha, when their children lose their clothes and their school supplies. Didn’t you know that?!

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