Though not as frightened as he used to be, Mark is scared of the concept of me as a mother. (Oh calm down, I’m not pregnant and not planning to be any time soon. Mark and I are talkers. You name it, we’ve talked about it.)
My innate pessimism—and yes, it is innate, there’s more than one study that says it's possible—and cultivated cynicism are things he doesn’t want heaped on the next generation.
(As for me, I don’t see the productive value in a ridiculous sunny outlook all the time. Uh, hello disappointment! To live pessimistically is to understand the limitations of faith and to constantly be delighted with the surprise of expectations exceeded. I’m not an unhappy person. Contrarily, I’m a person who finds herself perpetually pleased with a result because I anticipated things going so much worse than they did.)
A few days ago we were chatting with our friend, Mick, about the trials in enrolling his youngest in public preschool. (Oh yes, Dear Reader, that exists—tax dollars dedicated to early school for kids with special needs.) In our discussion Mark asked Mick if you get to choose your kids’ teachers in public school. (Why didn’t he ask me? I know the answer to that! I know the answer to everything!) Mick explained that it’s fraught—you don’t want your kid labeled as the one with the pushy parent, but you also don’t want to land a teaher that’s not going to work for your family. Mick then said, We’ve been really fortunate to have great teachers for our kids. I’m blessed with a sweet wife who can get anything from anyone.
Mark looked over at me, We’re screwed.
I leapt to my own defense. Are you kidding me? Dude, I pay this mortgage with sweetness designed to get me stuff. I can weasel my way into any office based on my sparkling adorability and charm.
Yeah, there’s a dusky layer of sarcasm quivering beneath, but I don’t let that out until the time’s right. So far as anyone new knows, I’m an accommodating, optimistic, peach of a girl with a pixie haircut and elfin face. About six months into my current job I made some offhand very Megan-like comment and my manager said, Whoa! Something from Megan that’s not 100% upbeat! (He’s since met the casual version of me and I’m quite sure he likes it. (Read: I’m still employed.))
So, while managing expectations and enjoying life through the lens of cynicism I’m quite able to utilize expert charm to get things done.