Oh, my friend! We have been growing apart, haven’t we? It’s not you. It’s me. I’ve changed. I’m not who I was.
I stopped blogging. And, since not one single person has asked me why I’m not blogging anymore, I thought I owed you an explanation.
Every now and then I feel a little pang of an urge to overshare, and so here I am today.
I get these notifications on Facebook every week telling me a couple or so people are looking at my blog from three years ago. If I ever need to prove to my kids that there’s no taking back what you throw on the interwebs, there it is.
Sometimes, after I see the notification, and feel the sting of my “why do I have to be such a loud mouth?” inner dialogue, I’ll go back and read what other people are reading. I brace myself for what I assume will feel like nonsense, now that I’m older, and so mature. I read it through, and then think, oh. I guess I’m okay with that. I thought it would be worse. I was wrong. I guess I haven’t changed.
Here’s hoping for more of that.
I have this almost grown family now. My friend, Lisa, sent me this funny video a mother with three youngsters made. The Mom told a story about how she was at home, and she washed her face. She grabbed a hand towel to wipe her face off, and just as she was bringing the towel to her face, she smelled poop. There was POOP on the towel.
This whole disgusting episode led this mom to a variety of hilarious questions and observations. One question being: Where as a parent did I go wrong?
This was a funny Mom.
One of the best parenting tips I have learned is the value of a sense of humor. Sometimes, you’re in a situation, and it’s awful. Like, everybody is enraged and upset, and the circumstances seem ludicrous, but there is a teeny, tiny piece of your mind that whispers: you’ll laugh at this some day.
Most days of Eddie’s life were like that.
Anybody who knows Eddie, knows he’s always been a charming handful of parent atrocities. Eddie’s in college now. He’s not in jail at all. Scott and I high five each other every day. We did it, man. We did it. We really did. They didn’t think we could, but we did.
Here is a story:
When the kids were little, Zeke and Eddie slept in our unfinished basement. It was kind of gross, and maybe part of the reason why Eddie was always sick. But, that’s a different story.
There was no bathroom in the basement. Zeke told us he didn’t care for always trudging up the stairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was really cold. Eddie never complained. That didn’t surprise us. Eddie’s not big on complaining. But, then we realized that’s because Eddie had nothing to complain about. Eddie decided to make short work of having to go to the bathroom in a basement without a bathroom; he started peeing in bottles and pop cans. The kid is an absolute problem solver.
Once we figured out why Eddie wasn’t trudging upstairs to go the bathroom, we scolded Eddie. We said that was disgusting, and standing pee is very unsanitary, and not helping the ambiance of the dark, cold, crappy basement. Eddie said he’d stop peeing in cans.
He did. Mostly.
One day, Zeke and I were in the kitchen. Zeke picked up a can of pop and took a swig. Zeke’s eyes locked with mine. Then, he looked kind of funny. Funny bad. He asked, “What was that?!”
I don’t know how a mother knows. But, suddenly, I just knew. There is no logical reason on Earth a mother would assume any human with even the tiniest capacity to think and reason would set a can of pee on a kitchen counter, but that didn’t stop me from knowing that’s exactly what Eddie did.
I said, “Zeke, I think that was Eddie’s pee.”
Zeke’s face filled with horror. He ran to the bathroom, and tried to throw up. Maybe he did. I don’t remember that part. Because, what happened next with me is this terrible thing that happens when I’m extremely tense, and find myself in absurd situations, the kind of situations where people expect you to behave in a serious manner. I started giggling. I swear, I did not think it was funny (then). I was horrified and nervous by how upset Zeke was. I just started giggling, and I couldn’t stop. This enraged Zeke, as he understandably assumed I thought it was all a big funny joke, instead of understanding what I was really thinking: my oldest son needs to be put in a mental institution.
Zeke was mad at me. And, he was even more mad at Eddie. I told Zeke that Eddie would be punished. Zeke said, “yeah right.” He didn’t seem convinced, but then he suddenly just dropped it. Like, he was done. We weren’t talking about it anymore. It almost made you believe he was over it.
Eddie tells funny stories about how growing up Zeke had a threshold of tolerance for Eddie’s antics. Zeke is a nice boy. It’s kind of tough to make Zeke mad. But, Eddie had a special talent for it. Eddie tells other people that it isn’t in their best interest to make his nice little brother mad. Zeke can be scary.
A month or so after the pee drinking incident, we were all hanging out in the kitchen. At that time, I had a big container of water in the refrigerator. We would push the button on the spigot to fill our glasses with water. Much like walking up steps seemed like too much of an effort to go to the bathroom, Eddie wasn’t much for having to walk to cupboards, and reach for glasses. He would always open the fridge, lay on his back, put his mouth under the spigot, and drink water that way. Eddie should write a book, “The Easiest Way to Do Anything”.
Eddie was getting a drink on his back that day, when Zeke dashed through the kitchen. Zeke ran over to the fridge, and poured a can of liquid over Eddie’s face and body while Eddie was on his back. Eddie stood up, soaked. He looked at Scott, and said, “Zeke just poured pop all over me.”
Scott looked Eddie over, sniffed him a bit, and said, “I don’t think that’s pop, pal.”
Eddie sniffed his wet clothes, and then he realized. Zeke wasn’t over drinking pee at all. Zeke was just waiting. Waiting weeks and weeks for the right time for revenge. Zeke had decided pouring pee on Eddie while he took a drink of water would even the score.
Scott and I stood in the kitchen after this incident, and basically agreed we were not succeeding as parents. When our children were younger, we didn’t anticipate this pee in the pop can situation. We had no instincts to help guide us through what one does for a child who drinks another child’s pee. Or, how to fairly administer consequences for the pouring of pee over another child’s head. We just didn’t see any of it coming.
Good news. We didn’t have any more pee related problems to figure out. We had a whole bunch of other problems, but that was the end of the pee kind. Zeke’s retribution on his brother eased his outrage. And, Eddie thought it seemed fair as well.
Your kids are probably sweet, and neat, and do what you expect. I’ve had plenty of friends like you. Be thankful. But, for the parents who are about to wipe their face with poop-stained hand towels, or are about to take a swig of pee, this was a story for you.
Buck up, Buckaroo. Some day your kids won’t be in jail at all either. Just like ours. And, the only encouragement I have for you right now is to tell you that some day your kids’ stories will make you laugh. I mean, who wants to hear boring stories about the kid who did their homework and kept their room clean, right?
I know. It isn’t much, but it’s all you got right now. I’d offer more help if I could.