Imagine that your children are home from school. Everyone you know is making plans to go pet wool covered animals that they will later shear and use that same organic wool to make hats and scarves, or they’re headed out to pick fruit directly from trees or, they’ve carved their family portrait into the face of the prize winning pumpkin from the Harvest festival and then made pies to deliver to orphans.
Now imagine that you are in pajamas. So are the children. The sun is shining, but, you’re barely interested. Then, a knock at the door. You’ve made plans to have friends over. And, you’ve completely forgotten. Nothing says, I’m so happy you’re here like actually saying, “Wait…were we supposed to get together? Come on in, I’ll be right back. I have to put a bra on. And some pants.”
Imagine this happened this morning. Because, it did.
Also imagine if you will the rest of these events. Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try…
After reading this, it will be even easier.
This weekend, my husband walked outside to discover one of our cats taking their daily constitutional in the sand box. As he slow-motion ran to the aid of the sandbox, he was hit with a wall of urine stench so powerful that he was blown backwards in time to the day several weeks ago when I forgot to cover the sandbox.
He spent the afternoon emptying the contents of the box and cursing my name under his breath. I spent the day saying helpful things like, “I wonder how long the kids were playing inside a giant litter box?”
Also making the list this week, my daughter brought home a piece of paper from her 2nd grade classroom asking us to draw the entire floor plan of our home for Fire Safety Awareness Month. We were supposed to illustrate all of the possible emergency exits in our home that could be used during a fire. I suggested she write, “DOORS!” in black sharpie on the center of the paper. When she complained about my under-zealous reaction to a homework assignment as annoying as a last minute frantic call from a school committee for baked goods, she wrote on the paper, “Sorry, too late in the night!” and turned it in to her teacher. I wonder if her teacher thought we meant a) By the time we got around to this assignment, it was too late at night.” or b) “If a fire hits, it will be too late in the night for an escape.”. Either way, it’s fun to keep people guessing.
Also this week, trying to channel the mother I want to be instead of the mother I am, I signed up to read a story to my son’s Kindergarten class. The “Secret Reader” program is a huge success unless you are hopelessly me. Then, the 20 children will clamor away from your general direction as you attempt to read a story everyone hates as much as you hate Fire Safety homework assignments. I talked loudly and then louder and then, ever louder as the children expressed their gratitude by saying, “I CAN’T SEE THE PICTURES!” and then crying for recess.
After the story, I made my way out to the playground with the class and placed my smallest child on a large, playground swing. As I made the very first push, I yelled “Hold on, little one!” in order to impress the teachers monitoring afternoon recess with my loud and compassionate care for my offspring. However, I said it so loudly that I startled the baby, she let go in mid-air and tumbled backwards to the ground. She lay in the swing ditch, crying covered in wood chips.
Then, the piece de resistance. This week’s parenting Sistine Chapel. We had a friend over in the afternoon for a quick play before heading to school to pick up the kids. It was idyllic, really. Until I saw the baby cradling something in her arms. She was holding it so tenderly saying, “It soft. I hold it. Pet, pet, pet.” I walked closer, each step bringing more and more dread. It was fluffy. It was an animal. Oh God, what is that? There she was, holding the tail of a squirrel. Just its tail. As I said, “Nooooooooooooooooo! NO! NO! NO!” she ran off knowing I was clearly after her prize. “NO, it mine! MINE! It soft! I HOLD IT!” I then had to have a tug of war with a squirrel tail…in my neighbor’s front lawn. While a friend watched in horror. When I finally wrestled the tail out of her aggrieved hands, I threw the tail as far as I could. Because, what else do you do with a severed squirrel tail? If you point me to some severed squirrel tail Pinterest board, I will burn down the internet.
This is just a snapshot of last week. Out of the minutes that turned into hours and then days, these were moments in time that started as calamity, but, later melted into comedy. I’m welcoming you to these moments so you can say either, a) Oh thank GOD, me too. or b) Holy shit, it could be worse. I could be this lady. or c) What does this woman have against Fire Safety Month? or d) Can one catch full blown rabies from a squirrel’s tail?
Whatever adventures you chose to celebrate this week, rest well knowing you did not have to wrestle a squirrel tail out of your baby’s hands. And, really, isn’t that enough?
Until next week, this is Bad Parenting Moments and her bleach burned, bleeding hands, over and out.