Really, I sometimes wonder where she came from.
How did this family of malcontent wine drinkers, introvert math prodigies and grumpy investigative scribblers spawn the little crop of sunshine we call Pook-a-noodle or sometimes McGallon?
An editor called me a "ray of sunshine in the office" once, but the office was a newsroom so the Best Disposition award was pretty much just sitting there for the taking. Anyone who could make it to deadline without slamming a phone down hard enough to break it, calling someone a weasel or kicking an intern was a contender.
Real sunshine is closer to this I think: A short drive to school punctuated by laughter, singing and her one-size-fits-all song ratings. "I love this song!" she says, pretty much every time a new one begins.
"You say that about every song," I say.
She ignores this and any other observations that do not fit her view of the world, which is butterfly-strewn and set to a Justin Bieber soundtrack.
She shifts her attention to the next song, which, it turns out, she loves.
She runs down the latest eighth grade gossip for me, careful to leave out the details or identifying information that would violate the terms of the various confidentiality agreements involved. Someone's boyfriend, it turns out, owes someone else an apology for something and is being encouraged to script it in accordance with a movie scene that the cheerleaders agree is the Best Apology Ever.
"Is apology by committee really the way to go?" I wonder. She ignores this as the completely irrelevant advice that it is.
Halfway to school, as per our ritual, she remembers something she forgot. Today, it is oral hygiene.
"I forgot to brush my teeth and it's picture day," she says. "We have to turn around."
I sigh. How is it that someone who never leaves the house without mascara can forget to brush her teeth? It's a rhetorical question - inaudible to teenagers - so she ignores this too.
When she is back in the car, her musical lucky streak continues. "I love this song!" she says. She sings along until we reach the school, where the line of traffic advances just far enough to put us in front of the entrance. It's not snowing or raining or dramatically cold and the line is no more than a few car lengths in either direction, but she chooses to take this prime drop-off positioning as an omen for the rest of the day. Especially since the song ends just as we pull up to the curb. Is she lucky or what?
"This is really just a good day," she says, gathering her things and trailing a cloud of Sweet Pea fragrance mist. "Off to a good start!"
And I have to agree. It is a very good start.
from the Sunshine archives: The Mother of Invention