There have rarely been times when I have been totally and completely blindsided by my offspring. Since I had become so conditioned to strategize, I always felt the best possible outcome would ensue with the least amount of negativity. I became so accustomed to this mindset, I literally divided my day into quadrants- morning, afternoon, evening, and night. I micro -managed each detail so I might feel the tiniest bit in control.
It was farcical to be so type “A” when I lived a perpetual play date (triplet boys) that could go wrong at any second. Sure, I could plan but something was always bound to pop up.
One such afternoon, the children were all together at a friends’ house. They were having a fun time playing and there were about 5 of them. Our girls were in charge since they had reached babysitting age and could easily access us moms who were two blocks away.
It was a welcome break to see friends myself and get to visit. We were at a local tapas and wine store sipping and chatting when our cell phones began blowing up. Apparently, one son had gone upstairs to hang out and decided it would be fun to play on the phone. This resulted in cop cars WITH BLUE LIGHTS FLASHING to dash to their house assuming there was an emergency. One son had curiously pushed “911-111-1111” on the phone just to see what would happen. The cops asked where the parents were and they told them, “At the wine store drinking wine.”
Not only did our friends get highly embarrassed that cop cars pulled into their Main Street house for the world’s speculation, but we moms felt no parenting awards were coming our way either.
Before anyone calls the cops (or DHR for that matter), please read the rest of the story. When our daughter was about two years old, she had a really hard time verbalizing syllables. Her brother’s name, Jordan, was especially hard for her to pronounce. She ended up spontaneously calling him “Weedo.” We all ended up calling him that for nearly 15 years until he finally (exasperatedly) expressed his true feelings about his nickname. And they were not pleasant!
The term of endearment did, however, apply until high school. Since we typically made his lunch on school days, one morning I absentmindedly wrote “Weed” on his lunch bag. He either didn’t notice or didn’t care. When he went to lunch, his friends died laughing over the fact he was carrying his bag of “Weed.”
Pets’ names are often curious and have an interesting story behind them. I love to inquire how they got their monikers. Our first family dog, Fluffy, was named by our daughter due to her fascination with the Harry Potter series. The beastly, three headed dog that protected the secret passageways of Hogwarts was ironically named “Fluffy.” We considered this first, family dog a metrosexual since he loved carrying his “Chewy Vuitton” purse around. Our neighbor down the street fed him a scrambled egg and bacon most mornings. He had his daily route of progressive dining which lead to excessive weight that I got chastised about by our vet. Once, I actually attached a sign to his neck that said “Please don’t feed me” but no one listened and his girth became like a pot bellied pig at 120 pounds. Still, he lived 17, happy years (and was amazingly buoyant in the river).
A recent addition, Skippy, was not named after the peanut butter brand but the dog food we gave Fluffy when he got insulin shots. Our daughter was dismayed when she heard the name and said that it figured. She said, “Of course I’m not there and it gets named after off brand dog food!”
A favorite pet name was one our son gave his pet goldfish. A family friend had won it at the fair but wasn’t interested in keeping it. Our son, however, was. He got his prized pet and immediately named it “Grace cannot name me” so his sister couldn’t have a say. That fairground goldfish lived three, unheard of years. It was a value added pet!
Annie is our elderly chihuahua that we found on the side of a highway. Obviously an orphan, her name came easily. Artemis is half feral and brought home numerous dead “prizes” before she realized she was actually going to be fed and didn’t have to hunt anymore. Thus, she got the name which means “goddess of the hunt.”
We recently had a kitten chase our vehicle a quarter mile in the woods. He was tiny and starving. My son who picked him up (or got picked up by) named him Opossum and we call it Opey for short. That name was the only one after a week that we could all agree on. (It’s hard to not agree on any reference to Andy Griffith anyway.)
Unenforceable, implied laws of pet naming require animals get interesting names. Who’s ever heard of a cat named Sara or a dog named John anyway?
Human condition can be measured without scientific, in-depth studies. It can easily be assessed when three, preteen boys have too much time on their hands.
Not realizing their idea was of the psycho-sociological nature, they took several rolls of plastic wrap and attached their willing brother to a pole on our road purely for reaction. He willingly complied since he had watched one too many episodes of Impractical Jokers. (Thoughtful as the perpetrators were, they left plenty of room for him to breathe.) The other two hid nearby in anticipation of stranger’s reactions.
Apparently, they had only two passersby and only one vehicle slowed down long enough to check he was actually breathing.
From a scientist’s perspective, the study was a bust. Not enough participants and the results were skewed. But to the boys, at least two hours had gone by and they got what they wanted- their own laughs.
One morning, one of our sons told us he was too sick to go to school. Knowing there was no immediate sign of illness, I decided to take him to the pediatrician to squelch any lingering questions of the contrary. We saw the doctor who gave him a clean bill of health and a direct pass back to school. (When you have 4, you have to be creative to avoid future endeavors.). But being the softie parent that I was, I decided to ease the pain of returning him straight to school by detouring through the local Sonic. In the drive thru, he ordered and we could audibly make out sniffles and a crackling voice through the speaker. When we arrived to the window to pay, the worker had red eyes from obvious crying. I asked her what was wrong. She said her family member was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma and had a short time left to live. Eyeing our son, I said that we would pray for her and her family member and that we were so sorry for her bad news. She thanked us and we waited for his order. Once we were alone, I remarked to him how important it was that no matter where he was or what he was doing, he needed to be ready for God’s call to intercede and pray for people. Without missing a beat, he turned to me and asked, “Do you think they need any prayer at Burger King?”
Praise the Lord for laughter. Praise the Lord for those with quick wit. He gave us this underrated tool to survive this crazy existence called life. I have a husband that can make any circumstance a joke. Sometimes it is well received, sometimes, not so much. However, I prefer it to not. For instance, when the children were small, he moved our family 20 minutes out of town to the river. Because all weren’t prolific swimmers, he decided to fence in all water access. There was a fish pond that got a circular fence; the waterfront backyard got divided by chain length fence; and then, the entire lot was enclosed in the same eyesore. Stainless steel fence framed every view. I said to him that it looked like we lived in a penitentiary. He remarked, “But isn’t it a beautiful penitentiary?”
Another example was when my husband (then fiancé) was asked if it concerned him that he was marrying someone who could inherit Alzheimer’s (my mom passed at 59 from it). He just plainly remarked, “Well, I’ll get at least 20 good years out of her.” So dreamy! I’m proud to say he’s still getting his money’s worth at almost 27 years. When I’ve been “poor in spirit” it sure has been nice to lighten the mood. I’m glad God gave me a partner who can do that readily (most of the time.)