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Monday, December 10, 2012

On Being a Parent OR I Owe My Parents an Apology

Recently, we were watching Life After People.  If you haven't caught this show, well, hey, it's all in the title.  What happens to all of our stuff if we weren't around to take care of it, or to mess it up, depending on your perspective?  (No explanation.  People gone.  Dogs, cats, and kangaroos take over the world.  The Statue of Liberty falls into the water.  Kudzu takes over the south.)  (This is kind of what happens after a Presidential election.  Suh-lam.)

I've been interested in this show because one of my written series is about an apocalyptic world where pretty much everyone vanishes and only a few people are left, which I wrote years before Life After People, but the idea of what happens is certainly apropos for the novel.  (Brings to mind, Wall-E, which takes place about what, eight hundred years after everyone beat feet because the world was yucky-poo.  If one listens to the series Life After People, all those buildings and bridges that Wall-E the cleaner-upper robot goes around in the movie literally wouldn't be there, but it doesn't mean it's not a good movie.)  (And what does that have to do with being a parent?  Well, there was a period in my life where the daughterly one wanted to watch Wall-E.  Day after day, after day, after day.  I think we watched Wall-E for about two months straight, which reminds me of a mommy friend who had a daughter who wanted to watch The Sound of Music day after day after day.  The kid could sing all the songs verbatim.  I think I prefer Wall-E.  Sorry, Julie.)

Okay back to Life After Humans.  (How, you might ask, does this lead up to being a parent?  I will explain.  Eventually.)

Cressy, our daughter, watches the show, gets the gist of it, and says to daddy during the commercial, "I know what I would do if you and mommy were gone."  (She had a plan, just in case we disappeared.  It's nice to know she's prepared.)  "I will get mommy's wallet (the place where all money emanates apparently) and go to Target and buy food.  Then I would eat until I was full and then I would poop.  Then I would eat until I was full.  Then I would poop."  (Not sure how the pooping relates to the apocalyptic ending of the world, but we were going with the eight-year-old's logic.)  (A thought occurred to me.  Apocalyptic ending = poopoo.  Heavy stuff.)
So I asked, "How would you get to Target?" (Target is about three miles away.  Horrors.)  "Would you ride your bike?"

"I would walk."  (Haha.  Wait until she tries to carry those groceries home for three miles.)  (Furthermore, not sure if it occurred to her that if mommy and daddy were gone, then maybe all the other mommies and daddies would be gone, too.  I swear she hasn't read Lord of the Flies.)

Daddy got into it.  "What about Megaroy?  Who would take care of him?"  (Megaroy, for you blog neophytes, is my daughter's moron cat.  He is, really, a moron.)

Cressy had to think about it.  I believe she was attempting to rationalize bringing us back from the dead to attend to litter box cleanliness.  "I would."

"You would scoop his poop and brush his fur and play with him?" I asked.  (I swear it wasn't condescendingly.)

"I would clean his poop, but I wouldn't throw up like you, Mommy."  (Trust her not to forget the one time his poop made me ralph.  Hey, if you had picked up that poop, smelly, squishy, and still warm, you would have gagged, too.)

We would have gone along this vein for awhile, except that I was thinking about the time I ran away.

This event occurred when I was eight-years-old.  (Which pretty much strikes me in the heart dead, right now.)  (Somewhere my mother is saying, "Haha!")  I had gotten a dollar bill for my birthday.  (One whole dollar.  I thought I was rich.  I thought I could buy anything.  Really.  Anything.)  I don't remember why I decided to run away.  I think the reasoning was something along the lines of "They won't let me do what I want here," and "I've got a dollar bill and I don't need them anymore."  (This makes me sound like a truly rotten kid.  I might have been.)

So I loaded up the dollar bill and some clothes into a laundry basket and snuck out about five a.m. one morning.  I walked to the school and hid the basket in the baseball dugout.  Then I went to school.  I figured I could live in the dugout, with my dollar bill, and go to school, which I liked at the time.

All you parents can probably relate to the part I wasn't thinking about.  I mean, can you imagine what my parents thought when they woke up, not only didn't they find me in my bed, but also not in the house?  This was the seventies, and while child abduction wasn't in the forefront of the daily news, it was around.  Now, all I can think about is what they must have gone through in the hour or two before the school called them to tell them I was there.

Mom came and got me.  She stood in the cafeteria, where they had been feeding me breakfast, and shrieked at me for several minutes.  (My reaction was to play dumb.  The less that was said the better.)  Ultimately the family came to the conclusion that I must have been sleep-walking.  (I should have left a note.  My plan wasn't well thought out.)  When I went back to get my stuff out of the dugout, someone had gone through it and stolen the dollar.  (Can anyone smell the irony?)

Anyway, sorry Mom and Dad.

Of course, this was followed by me saying to Cressy, "You wouldn't run away from home, would you, sweetie?"

"No, mom."


"Yes, Mommy, I promise."

All is well again.

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