Last night, my thirteen-year old daughter showed me a project she’d finished for her Spanish Class.  The teacher asked the students to create an “ideal family tree” that included anyone they wanted as relatives.  They could choose their real family members, or come up with fantasy members of their own choosing, as long as their tree displayed what they considered their “ideal family.”

What a nice assignment, I thought, as my daughter explained it to me before showing her work.  Surely this would offer a moment of reflection for the kids; a chance to pause and recognize that the family they had been blessed with was, in fact, ideal.  I was about to share this very thought with her when she unveiled a large piece of yellow tagboard.  I stopped mid-sentence as my illusions blew like leaves off the branches of her “ideal family tree.”


And there it is.

Grandparents:  Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

We watched Sound of Music last week.  Great show; I’ll give that one to her.

Parents:  Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise.

This is an improvement?  Really?


Aunt and Uncle:  Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock

Okay, that’s solid.  No offense to my siblings and in-laws, but these two are hard to beat (even though they made us suffer through The Proposal.)

Siblings:  Logan Lerman, Julianne Hough, Kenny Wormaid.

I have no idea who any of these brats are.

Cousins:  Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Cloe Moretz, Brooklyn Beckham.

I’ll admit I adore the first two.  The last two?  More unidentifiable brats.

Obviously, this entire episode was a bitter pill for my mother-heart (throat) to swallow.  But I think what hurt most was that after grilling my daughter, I learned that this Logan Lerman kid played the lead in the the cataclysmic remake of Footloose.  MY Footloose!  You know how I feel about that movie.  No one touches Kevin Bacon; he was a very, very important factor in my developmental years.  It’s bad enough that my little girl spat on my heart, did she have to spit on Ren McCormack too?

Look, I get it.  This is a much more attractive hand than the one my daughter was dealt.  But I told her:  don’t be fooled.  These people are surely a bunch of greedy, shallow, narcissistic heathens with nothing to offer but their botox-ed eyes and boob-jobbed bods.  I said as much to my daughter, beseeching her to reconsider the values upon which her “ideal family” was built.  Where was the commitment, the gratitude, the truth?  Where was the love, for the love?  I asked her these things pointblank, but she merely replied with a shrug.

“Whatev, Mom.”  And with that she scooped up her poster, turned her sassy self around, and bounced out of the room.

I hope she gets an F.