Well, it happened. I didn’t think it would. Believe me, I spent years waiting for it. Expected it even. Then it started to dawn on me that my children were just too perfect (becuase of my flawless mothering skills, no doubt) to go down that path. Yes, my children had great manners, I told myself. They are so good to eachother. My boys would never pull the stuff on my daughter that my brothers pulled on me. They didn’t really pick on eachother. Sure there were minor spats, but overall, my children were perfect angels. Yes, that was the road that I was going down. Believing this about my kids. And more importantly (insert some smug self praising here) believing it about my parenting. Wow, I was lucky! But that bliss was shot down. My bubble popped. Those kids, my angels, set me straight in one fell swoop. One family dinner changed it all.
I am the youngest of 5 children and grew up in the midwest. Summers were spent at the pool by day, and playing kick-the-can by night. Parents stood in the street and socialized while the children scattered and played. The neighborhood was alive with barefoot children running, hiding, screaming in delight. The family unit, other than summer family vacations, didn’t run into each other much. Summer was about friends, being outside, and running free. It was glorious. Winters, however, were another story.
Winters in the midwest can be brutal. Sure we could ice skate, sled, and take peaceful night time walks in the fresh snow. But then came the steel grey sky, the biting cold. The days and days in a row, because of the weather, of being stuck inside. Together. Kids. Bored kids. Playing cards and Monopoly started off fun in December, then Janurary… but later in the winter, the games incited more arguments than good clean fun. Then a different kind of games began. The slightly naughty ones. Hijinx. And being the youngest member of the family made me a perfect target.
One night as my sister and I were in bed, lights out, chatting away, little did we know our brothers were planning a good belly laugh for themselves at our expense. One brother slid out into the dark hallway, tied string onto our doorknob, and ever so slowly pushed our bedroom door open. He silently slid back into his bedroom, to many snickers from the other boys no doubt! Then the boys, I will never know which one as some of these secrets will go to the grave, slowly pulled the string, causing our bedroom door to slowly close. Scared the wits out of us! Well those blood curdling screams from my sister and I are the stuff legends are made of. My brothers can’t help but still get a good laugh when relaying this story today. It is a family legend that continues to be proudly passed down from my brothers. But that wasn’t all.
One of my brothers had a particular talent for passing gas. All sorts. You wanted a good solid belch? He was your man. A loud phony flapping armpit “fart”? We knew who to go to. A real fart with major hang time? Yup, my brother could exceed all expectations. And he could detect parental units with unreal accuracy, allowing him to, uumm, unleash his talents with mom and dad always out of earshot. And again, being the youngest, I was the most logical and available target. My brother would oh so sweetly ask for assistance with something that needed immediate attention. Something on his back. It was tiny, didn’t I see it?…so I had to get real close. Then bam!! His airbiscuit would barrel out of his backside! There was no escaping the offense, and no mistaking the delight he felt as evidenced by his deep loud peals of laughter at my disgusted reaction. Years later, a mother of 3 myself, I realized with great satisfaction that my own children were above such hijinx. Or so I thought.
Tonight was a warm evening. I grilled dinner while chatting with my children. I love our family dinners. They mean everything to me. It is a chance to talk to all of my children, catch up on the day, hear about whats going on with friends. A great way to connect and spend time with my 3 angels. My perfect children that treat eachother with love and respect. Tonight was no exception…at first. Then it happened. My daughter relayed a story of something that happened earlier today. Her older brother approached her. He has something on his back. Get close, he said, is it a bug bite? A pimple? She got close, really close, to help her brother out. Then she got blasted. Yup! She got leveled unexpectedly by a huge honkin airbiscuit with major hang time. As she told the story at dinner and her brother belly laughed uncontrollably, I had major deja vu! Holy cow! Really?
Ok, so I had to laugh too. And I also marveled at the irony of this happening in another generation of my family. My perfect angels were apparently not above yanking eachothers chain. And you know what? I am thrilled to hear it! The baton is passed to the next generation…