Micah and I collected words for most of his childhood, the way we also collected rocks we liked.
“Bumbershoot”, he’d say.
“Glockenspiel”, I’d reply
“Calliope!”, he’d pounce.
Hm. Hard to come up with something good after Calliope.
“Geezer”, I say, in triumph.
His face is puzzled. New word. “What does it mean?”, he asks.
“A geezer is a sort of cranky old person”, I say, “Without a lot of life left in them? But you wouldn’t pass by an older person on the street and say Good Morning, Geezer. It’s an insult.”
I watch him turn it over and store it away.
“Flotilla”, he says. And we go on.
One morning, years later, I’m snappy about getting everyone into the car for church. I’m trying too hard to be good. I know I got up on the wrong side of the bed. I am being fake-nice, which drives everyone nuts. They’d rather I was honestly cranky.
Micah, now tall enough to put his arm around my shoulders, says “Don’t stress, geezer, we’re gonna get there on time.”
I look at him, and we both burst out laughing. I laugh so hard that tears come. Micah has a pre-teen’s self-control when laughing with an adult. “Don’t get carried away”, he says, pretending irritation he doesn’t feel.
I can’t stop laughing.
He can’t hide his smile. He adds the coup de grace: “Jeeze, geeze!”
I’m laughing so hard Shaun wisks the car keys out of my weak fingers. We don’t make it to church on time. I sit as still in my church seat as I can, giggling inappropriately during the sermon and pretending I have a weird cough, whenever Micah grins at me, or Lee Lee looks to see if I’m losing it yet.
I call him my Geezer-in-Training, AKA: Geezling.
I’ve never felt more loved than when a now teenage Micah says “Hey, Geeze…what’s up? How’s your day?”
Our house, in the summer, when we all more or less go to bed at the same time, is a whacked out goodnight-version of The Waltons. Instead of Goodnight John-Boy, and the replies, it sounds something like this:
Goodnight, Sib. (the kids call each other sibling, no idea how it started)
Goodnight, my little Geezlings.
I love you more than all the grains of sand I dumped out of my shoe today!
I love you MOST.
Nu-unh. I love you moster! More than all the flies at the picnic.
Micah, gross. I love you Most-EST. That’s it! Shut up. I win.
Sorry, I love you Most-EST times a million plus 1!
I’m embracing my inner Geezer, and looking forward to a long and happy geezerhood.