Parenting is chronic. Sometimes you need to take a break, lest you lose your everlovin’ mind. Locking yourself into the bathroom alone, or miracle of miracles, stepping outside of the house without the kids, provides a blessed bit of space, which allows you to remember that you do, in fact, love these funny little human beings. Even if they are approaching your-size human beings who want to wear your shoes and don’t always ask first.
Despite having to share my shoes with a fourteen year old who somehow came out of my body and now is in high school, I haven’t lost my everlovin’ mind (yet). In celebration, I thought I’d share a list of real questions – to which they wanted real answers – that my two children have asked me.
Dinner conversation one night about teachers proved informative, as my daughter was now at the public middle school (and who knows what kind of drugs/bullying/sex and possibly rock and roll she might encounter in the halls.) The health teacher with the name of a restaurant claimed current first place in adolescent adoration: Ms. Bertucci. With a wuthering glance at our obvious stupidity, our daughter enunciated clearly “No, not Bertucci. It’s P-P-P-Pertucci. You know, P. As in Porn.” Slight pause. “What is porn, anyway?”
Shopping with kids is a tricky business. If you just need to purchase a simple head of lettuce that will never even touch their lips, small bodies slide to the ground in nonviolent protest, provoking such useful responses as hissing “Use your legs and walk, so help me….” If, however, you need to purchase something useful and immediately needed, say, a white button down shirt for the chorus concert which starts in two hours, your children might begin to offer colorful commentary on all the shirts, and all the pants, and all the underpants to people nearby. Your response might involve a sudden desire to wrap fingers around those adorable necks and throttle. Just a little. And if something – anything – catches their eye while you are just trying to make it to the checkout? That’s nightmare territory right there, and that’s the moment I realized, deep inside the heart of every nine year old boy lurks the question: But why can’t I wear the poop emoji face-mask for Halloween?
“Mo-om! Come in the bathroom…I need you…I have a problem!” came her voice, a little more urgent than I’m-out-of-cucumber-melon-body-wash-can-you-bring-me-some-more, but a little less dire than there-is-lots-of-blood-and-I’m-freaking-out-here. More curious than frantic, I pushed open the door. Her twelve year old head peeked around the shower curtain as she somewhat sheepishly admitted: “I accidentally shaved off part of my eyebrow.” I had oh, so many questions: Accidentally? And just one? How? And more importantly, WHY WERE YOU ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR EYEBROWS WITH A RAZOR? My face must have reflected a certain level of confusion, as my brain and I struggled to assess the situation. She shrugged and said as if this were clearly my fault: “Well, you said I couldn’t shave my arms. And why can’t I shave my arms, exactly?“
Have you seen any survival shows, which often involve a man in the wilderness surviving with only his wits and a pocketknife (and oh yeah, the camera crew)? We have. We’ve also consumed hours of youtube, many of which involve young people doing random and admittedly cool things like building a giant organ-type instrument out of marbles and toothpicks. My son combined all of these moments from that seven year old stage of life into one burning question: “Mom, if you could bring one person and one thing to a desert island for survival, would you bring me and duct tape?“
Bonus LOL: We did Mad Libs together at breakfast one morning, making a perfect snapshot of the random bits of our life with two smart, curious and cheeky adolescents.
“I, John Williams, promise to return the snowy butt cheeks that I borrowed from the Holy Spirit.”
This post is inspired by the WordPress online course, Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration (Day 2: Make a list). Read the whole series here.