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Alexey Venetsianov. Cartomancy. 1842. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. (image source)

I remember the first time I got "my cards read," I was only 13 (my middle girl's age) and it freaked me out, big time.

Her name was Charlotte and she practiced "cartomancy," which sounds an awful lot like "gastromancy," but has nothing to do with being romantically involved with someone who works for the gas company -- although, considering today's economy, it certainly would be a perk -- she was, however, no "charlatan."

"You will marry a man, with 5 letters in his name and you will have 4 children."


"Your brother will have a career in the Army and marry the Colonel's daughter."

HAH!  Actually, I think her father was a Sargent, or something!

"You and your children will live a long and happy life."

Perhaps it's because of my Hungarian upbringing.

"You will find that you too have a special gift."

Gosh, but my grandmother could tell wickedly scary ghost stories from the old country -- but, I personally have seen some really wierd stuff to believe that there are many people who are indeed born with "special gifts." 


Like seeing far ahead into the future and helping others find their path(s) in life.

"Use it wisely!"

I am NOT one of those people.

"Hey Mom, have you ever heard of Tarot cards?"

Now, here's the thing.  I could say this:

"Why yes, yes I have, in fact, I have a pack upstairs, in my lingerie drawer, right now!"

Besides the fact that, you know, after 4 kids and nearly 20 years of marriage, sadly, there's just not much use for sexy lingerie, anymore.

(shutup, Mominatrix!)

"Wanna see?"

Or, I could say this:

"Why yes, in fact, a bunch of us moms went to a psychic party, but she wasn't as good as the guy I saw a few years ago, who told me that one of my children will inherit my grandmother's gift."

Although, I can totally understand some people's need to feel as if there were some sort of pre-determined road ahead and that, somehow, someone, or something would be able to, you know, give them a heads up, about it, or something.

"Yes, yes, your children WILL live a long and happy life."

[knocks on wood until knuckles bleed]

I'm just not quite sure I want to expose my kids to, for lack of a better term, anything that ends in "mancy."

"Mom, are you listening to me?"

My special gift?

", where did YOU hear about Tarot Cards?"

I am an expert, however, in the art of changing "the subject."

"I saw you looking through some books at Barnes & Noble, the other night."

Stealth parenting?

", you want to go to the book store tonight?"

Not so much.

"Okay, I get it, something about your childhood and you just don't know how to talk about it, right now, right?" 


"Yes, yes, I would LOVE to go to the book store!"

Aaaaand, it seems to run in the family.

"Somehow, I knew that you would!"

(shutup Charlotte!)

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