“You’re moving?” the other mother said to me.
I looked at her in confusion.
Apparently this news had come to her by way of my kindergarten-age daughter, who had announced to some of her classmates that we were moving. The impending move was news to me.
I looked at my daughter, who stared back at me impassively. Her face betrayed nothing: no guilt, no shame, no trace of wrongdoing.
“Maybe she is,” we laughed, “but the rest of us aren’t.”
A few years ago I would have been appalled by my daughter’s bold-faced lie, which seemed to have come out of left field.
The rivers of my horror would have been deep, except that her older brother had already taken me for a swim in those waters.
A few years before at school pickup one day my son’s preschool teacher and I struck up a conversation. She asked me how my husband’s job in Washington, D.C. was going. I looked at her blankly. My husband was traveling but he’d only gone a few hours away, not coast-to-coast. Had she confused me with another parent?
No, she had not.
My son, it seems, had told his class at circle time that his daddy was working in Washington, D.C. for the foreseeable future. He’d said it with such assured confidence and great specificity that multiple teachers believed it to be true.
It wasn’t the only thing that he’d said. Over the course of a week or so, he’d shared vast quantities of information with Room A: his grandparents had come to live with us, we’d had pizza for the previous night’s dinner, and he had a pet snake. Unfortunately (or fortunately in the case of the snake), none of it was true.
My heart sunk. If he could tell such off-base whoppers with panache at four, what deceptions would he be engaging in later in life?
His future flashed before me: It was a barren wasteland, full of disgrace and awash in criminality.