Thursday, January 29, 2009
Mom's Sordid Past
Living with growing kids has its challenges - seems like they're always hungry, fighting, or wanting every minute of every day, and just when I think this is a new phase they're bound to grow out of, it stays put until I'm near crazy. And as they have been growing up, they don't act or say those cute things like they used to when they were small. It's tough, but I can accept it, even though I think about how things used to be not so long ago.
What they're doing is asking questions about when I was their age. I answer to the best my memory will allow. It still amazes my daughter that when Mommy was a child there were no cable or satellite dishes, no videos or DVDs, no Internet or MP3s, and, especially, no cell phones.
"What did you do for fun?" she asked while we were eating dinner, "play with your pet rock?"
"Well, yes," I replied. "There used to be Pet Rocks for sale when I was a kid, but we were so poor," I said, using The Old Prospector voice, "I jes had ter go outside and catch me a wild one to play wit."
(Yes, I'm that funny.)
"Yeah, sure, Mom," she said. "Do you think I was born yesterday?"
"Kind of," I replied. She didn't appreciate that comment and went back to her plate.
Actually my sister BB and I did have pet rocks. We went outside, found some rocks, and named them. Voila! Pet Rocks. We even made beds for them to sleep in and had lots of adventures, but that is the subject of another posting.
My son wasn't as preoccupied with what I had to play with, instead he jumped right into my immediate past and began questioning me like an experienced interrogationist.
"So," he said slowly, sizing me up out of the corner of his eye, "just how many times have you been in jail exactly?"
"What!" I exclaimed. I couldn't decide if I should ground him for a week or laugh. I chose to laugh because if you don't find a way to laugh, you're gonna cry, and who wants to go through life crying? "Why would you ask me a question like that?" I asked.
"I just wanted to know, that's all."
"For your information, mister," I said, "I have never been in jail!" Jeez, what kind of mother does he think he has anyway? "Eat your dinner!" I grumped.
Meanwhile, daughter was choking on her meatloaf and not because I'm a bad chef. Her face started turning red until she couldn't help it and laughed outright. I tried to resist, but couldn't help myself either. Pretty soon we were all laughing, especially when my daughter began ad-libbing.
"Yeah!" she exclaimed, "Mom went to jail for ten years for stealing grapefruits from the store! No! It was a stick of gum! Yeah! And when she tried to get away she peed her pants and fell down in the mud and the police chased her and she fell down again and then...then she ran into the street and got hit by a garbage truck and died!"
Brother's milk went shooting out of his nose. Sister nearly fell out of her chair. Mom was getting perturbed at all the tomfoolery. The dinner table was breaking into complete and utter comic chaos.
It could have gone on and on, ad nauseum, but I broke it up.
"Actually, it was for robbing the bank," I added dryly. Their eyes got really big then. When I knew I had them I added, "Haven't you noticed why I never want to go into the post office?"
"No!" they said, "Why?"
"It's 'cause my picture's up on the wall."
"Huh? The wall?" son asked.
"Yeah, what does that have to do with robbing a bank?" daughter said.
A joke loses its funny when you have to get into lengthy explanations and my dinner was getting cold.
Just like Front Porch Dude said in It's a Wonderful Life, "Youth is wasted on the young!" Ain't that the truth?