Julie Lyles Carr: It's Not Easy Being Green

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

6 of 8 only last year ended her reign as baby of the family, the only one in the family to have held that position for so long, almost 4 years. We worried about how she would respond to the change in title and titular privilege, but I have to say, she has continued on without really acknowledging that a new pageant was held and she had to hand over the crown. She is possibly the singular child of eight who still operates as though she were an only child and the rest of us are her staff.

6 of 8 keeps us continually delighted with her little mannerisms, her squealy girlishness and her unbelievable vocabulary and diction, no doubt picked up from her years of accompanying me to 4 of 8's auditory verbal therapy and hours of diction drill. 6 of 8's 's's hiss with precision and she loves to explain to us that a champion is someone who is a winner, an amphibian is an animal like a frog and so on.

She is also part crow or squirrel or something scavenger, loving all things shiny. She can make necklaces out of tinfoil, bracelets out of hairbands and tiaras out of pie tins---anything to be sparkly. And her favorite color of lipstick is red--just trust me, by the time you have this many and are this tired, you learn to pick your fights....

Earlier today she prevailed upon one of her older sisters to let her go dumpster diving into some of their stash of costume jewelry--and she came up with a winner. My old Mood Ring--remember those? Some kind of egg shaped rock that interacted with body heat and as a bonus would turn your finger green from the mystery metal comprising the band, probably something in a nice vintage Chinese lead. I had apparently handed off this relic to one of the girls in a pre-menstrual closet cleaning session (is there any purer energy that a Pre Period Rage?) and this heirloom was pawned off on 6 of 8, much to her great delight. She bounced down the stairs, anxious to share her good fortune and new sparkliness.

But like many material blessings, she soon discovered a dark side. At dinner, she was giggling over something, then happened to glance down to her hand. Her countenance changed immediately to a somber one. "Oh, I thought I was happy, but I guess not..."


"Oh, the ring...it's blue so that means sad..."

M and I suppressed a grin. She continued to occasionally check in on her 'mood' throughout the meal and adjusted accordingly.

While shoveling the trenches of post-dinner, I asked her how she was feeling. "Just a minute," she chirped, quickly rotating her hand to check the mood barometer. "Oh, I guess sad because the ring is blue..."

"Who told you blue is sad?"

"Well, 2 of 8. She said if the ring is blue, it means you're sad." 6 of 8 clings to the words of 2 of 8 as if gospel. If 2 of 8 says broccoli makes you a better dancer, 6 of 8 is ready to imbibe. If 2 of 8 says ice cream will stunt your growth, 6 of 8 refrains. Oh, the power...

"Now, wait," says Wise I. "What color are your beautiful eyes? What color is the sky?"


"Well, is the sky sad?"

"No, it's beautiful!"

"And so are your eyes! To me, blue is a happy color! And green can mean you're giggly and the black means you must be sleepy and ready to go to bed..."

But I must confess, I often fall into the sin of my own mood divining, looking at the circumstances around me to indicate the emotions I should run through the paces. If the dishwasher backs up, I should feel household disaster. If the lady at the checkout is snippy, my mood stone turns irritable. If the babies miss nap, if the stain gets set, if the invitation doesn't arrive, I consult my internal mood stone and respond accordingly. But who says those things must dictate the tenor of my day? What if I simply rearranged the meaning of the philosophical colors? What if the color rude inspired patience, the color tired inspired calm, the color frazzled inspired trust in a God who holds all things in His Holy Hands?
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