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The Only True Genius in the Family - A Novel by Jennie Nash
'My Own True Genius' Essays : Lisa Bolender, Rooted in Creativity

True Genius Essay Contest Runner Up!

Rooted in Creativity

By Lisa Bolender

The Only True Genius in the Family by Jennie NashI was the weird kid in my family, always seeing the world differently. Mealtimes were particularly boring for me; I was a skinny kid, a picky eater, and the despair of my "clean plate club" grandmother. My goal at any family gathering was to eat the stuff that I liked, and escape the table as soon as possible, to save faraway imaginary kingdoms with the help of my aunt's poodle.

Things changed as I grew up. Now, instead of being "weird", I was "creative". Once I had kids, my eccentricities became acceptable, because you're supposed to do silly stuff with your kids. A favorite activity was the tea party, which evolved into a full-fledged family feast. One spring, when my parent's were visiting, we decided to treat them to our brand of creative dining.

I found that the best way to keep siblings from squabbling was to give them something creative to do, preferably in separate rooms. As my son worked on elaborate menus, my daughter made Easter-themed place cards. Menu planning was my job, and in addition to being chef, I helped rename all of our dishes to suit the holiday theme. "Eat your broccoli" is boring, "Would you care for more buttered trees?" is fun.

Dress up for the event was a must. My mother donned a straw hat, and my dad looked debonair in a silk scarf. I attended in vintage gown and tiara, my kids in odds and ends of costuming that they deemed fashionable. Rules for dining were simple; 1. Eat a little of each thing on your plate, 2. All conversation was to be in exaggeratedly pompous English, 3. I was to be addressed as "Your Highness". We had a very silly meal, filled with laughter, and love, rooted in creativity. •

© 2009 Lisa Bolender