It’s not very cold in Minnesota today. At least not for December. December in Minnesota. The world is windy and damp and the air smells like earth. And at 34 degrees, I figured why tear my house apart looking for my coat. The kids were waiting by the minivan – both mine and not-mine – and we were going to be late. I threw the hood of my sweater over my head and grabbed my keys.
I have this sweater – it’s cable knit and dark gray and longish with a hood. I got it for my birthday and I adore it. I’d adore it more if it had pockets – my hands get cold when I write. But still. It’s a good one. I clicked the button unlocking the car. Liam, the little boy in the car pool, stared at me open-mouthed.
“Up you get,” I said.
“Leo,” Liam whispered. “Why does your mom look like a Jedi?”
Leo, god bless him forever, didn’t miss a beat. “Because my mom is a Jedi,” he whispered back.
“No way,” Liam whispered to Leo.
Mind you, I was standing right there. And the both of them are loud whisperers.
“All moms are Jedis,” I whispered. Loudly. (Have you noticed that whispering loudly is murder on the throat. I should have just said it.)
“Nu-uh,” both boys said.
“It’s true,” I said. “Ever heard of the Jedi Mind Trick? Moms invented it. When we become moms, we get our name added to the patent.”
“What’s a patent?” Leo asked.
“It’s a piece of paper saying that you invented something or thought of something. People will make a new idea for a robot and they’ll patent their idea so that everyone knows who thought of it. Or if you think of a new way to do a job. You think of it, you explain it, and then you can patent it. It’s kind of like owning an idea.”
“So,” Leo said, “if I think of a new game – like Predator and Prey – I can patent it?”
“I don’t think you invented Predator and Prey,” I said.
“We both invented it,” Liam said.
“Well, if that was true, then you would both put your names on the patent. And if anyone tried to sell it, they’d have to give you money.”
They thought about that.
“So,” Leo said, “Whenever anyone in the whole galaxy uses a Jedi Mind Trick, they have to give moms some money?”
“Well…” I said.
“Moms must be the RICHEST LADIES IN THE WORLD!”
“Well, you see…” I said.
“Hey mom – I mean Jedi Mom, can I have four hundred bucks? Because I really want a Lego Death Star.”
I made a motion in the air as though I was wiping it clean. “You will forget about the Lego Death Star,” I said in my Jedi voice. “You will only want playing cards for Christmas.”
The boys looked at me scathingly.
“You,” they said in unison, “are the worst Jedi ever.”
And then we went to school.