Smoked


My sister and I were talking about our kids the other day and I told her that some days, I just want to curl up in a cave and hide for awhile.

Because recently my daughters told me that living with me is like living in the military.

I admit that I want the house somewhat picked up: While I’m not into decorating the house with fancy-schmancy things, book bags and shoes and textbooks strewn all over the house aren’t quite the look I’m going for.  And, yes, perhaps I do get a bit cranky when I wait ten minutes for them in the school parking lot.  

And, well, yeah, I do get grumpy when I’m asked to drive too much. 

I mean, isn’t that what stay-at-home moms are supposed to do?  Stay at home?


Whenever they tell me I’m too bossy or too demanding or too whatever it is I’m too much of that day, I launch into my “you guys have it much easier than I did” speech and their eyes gloss over.

So now, I’m teaching my girls to drive.  One hundred and thirty hours of parental instruction. 

This was supposed to be my husband’s job, but on the rare occasion he allowed the girls out of the local park, he would keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.

Alas, my car, my cute little car, is no longer my own.  Every time I get into my car, I nearly scrape off my ass.  Because V is five feet tall and one hundred pounds.  I am 5’6” and…well, I’m not one hundred pounds.  Every time I get into my car, I find my mirrors tilted at jaunty angles.  I find my windows down, and I suspect Outside Cat sleeps on the driver’s seat at night.  In my car now, I find fast food wrappers and apple cores and pens and textbooks.

I grump and grouse and clear my throat and begin my lecture about “the old days.”

And then I remember:

My mom had this blue station wagon.  And I frequently drove it to school or band practice or piano lessons.  One day, as I was driving one of my best friends home, one of us (I’m not sure whose idea it was, but since my kids sometimes read this, I’ll blame it all on my friend) had the crazy idea to light a smoke bomb and toss it upon the lush green lawn of some boy we either liked or despised, I can’t remember.  I’m not quite certain of the goal of this project.  Perhaps it was just a spot of fun to break up the monotony of the day.  Now, by today’s standards, this bit of high jinx seems innocuous, but in rural Ohio, it was big doings.

At least we thought it was.

We approached the boy’s house.  I slowed the car.  We cranked the windows down halfway.  My friend lit a match then held it to the fuse of the smoke bomb.  “Throw it,” I urged, watching the smoke start to pour forth from the bowels of the bomb.  “Throw it.”

She threw it. 

It hit the window.

It rebounded.

The smoke bomb flew into the backseat, whirling around like a dervish.

The car started to fill with smoke.  My lungs began to hurt.  My eyes…my eyes began to stream a river of tears.

 “Go,” my friend said.  “Go!

We drove down the street, smoke billowing from the windows of the car.

Somehow, we were able to lasso in the smoke bomb and toss it out the window and onto someone else’s lawn. 

But the car stank.  There were burn holes in the upholstery.

I dropped my friend off at her house; the jovial mood was gone.

That evening, I became quite industrious.  I washed my mother’s car; told her she couldn’t go drive it until I was done.  I washed the outside, even the windows.  Probably even waxed it.  I vacuumed the interior, carefully studying the holes in the upholstery.  I got the kitchen scissors and cut a few pieces of the blue carpet and glued them to the seat.  Finally, hours later, I gave my mom the royal tour. 

At the end, I confessed.  I pointed out the holes.  “What, are you smoking?”  She asked.

“Well, no.  We threw a smoke bomb onto someone’s lawn and missed.”

And just like that, my mom let it drop. 

In the old days, my life wasn’t all rules and regulations and chores and to-do lists.

My life was fun and forgiveness and love.

I remember that now.  And someday, I hope, my kids will too.

But for now, I think I’ll head out for a drive.  It’s too pretty to stay at home today.

Oh, darn.

Someone’s borrowed my car again.




Labels: , ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Smoked

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Smoked


My sister and I were talking about our kids the other day and I told her that some days, I just want to curl up in a cave and hide for awhile.

Because recently my daughters told me that living with me is like living in the military.

I admit that I want the house somewhat picked up: While I’m not into decorating the house with fancy-schmancy things, book bags and shoes and textbooks strewn all over the house aren’t quite the look I’m going for.  And, yes, perhaps I do get a bit cranky when I wait ten minutes for them in the school parking lot.  

And, well, yeah, I do get grumpy when I’m asked to drive too much. 

I mean, isn’t that what stay-at-home moms are supposed to do?  Stay at home?


Whenever they tell me I’m too bossy or too demanding or too whatever it is I’m too much of that day, I launch into my “you guys have it much easier than I did” speech and their eyes gloss over.

So now, I’m teaching my girls to drive.  One hundred and thirty hours of parental instruction. 

This was supposed to be my husband’s job, but on the rare occasion he allowed the girls out of the local park, he would keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.

Alas, my car, my cute little car, is no longer my own.  Every time I get into my car, I nearly scrape off my ass.  Because V is five feet tall and one hundred pounds.  I am 5’6” and…well, I’m not one hundred pounds.  Every time I get into my car, I find my mirrors tilted at jaunty angles.  I find my windows down, and I suspect Outside Cat sleeps on the driver’s seat at night.  In my car now, I find fast food wrappers and apple cores and pens and textbooks.

I grump and grouse and clear my throat and begin my lecture about “the old days.”

And then I remember:

My mom had this blue station wagon.  And I frequently drove it to school or band practice or piano lessons.  One day, as I was driving one of my best friends home, one of us (I’m not sure whose idea it was, but since my kids sometimes read this, I’ll blame it all on my friend) had the crazy idea to light a smoke bomb and toss it upon the lush green lawn of some boy we either liked or despised, I can’t remember.  I’m not quite certain of the goal of this project.  Perhaps it was just a spot of fun to break up the monotony of the day.  Now, by today’s standards, this bit of high jinx seems innocuous, but in rural Ohio, it was big doings.

At least we thought it was.

We approached the boy’s house.  I slowed the car.  We cranked the windows down halfway.  My friend lit a match then held it to the fuse of the smoke bomb.  “Throw it,” I urged, watching the smoke start to pour forth from the bowels of the bomb.  “Throw it.”

She threw it. 

It hit the window.

It rebounded.

The smoke bomb flew into the backseat, whirling around like a dervish.

The car started to fill with smoke.  My lungs began to hurt.  My eyes…my eyes began to stream a river of tears.

 “Go,” my friend said.  “Go!

We drove down the street, smoke billowing from the windows of the car.

Somehow, we were able to lasso in the smoke bomb and toss it out the window and onto someone else’s lawn. 

But the car stank.  There were burn holes in the upholstery.

I dropped my friend off at her house; the jovial mood was gone.

That evening, I became quite industrious.  I washed my mother’s car; told her she couldn’t go drive it until I was done.  I washed the outside, even the windows.  Probably even waxed it.  I vacuumed the interior, carefully studying the holes in the upholstery.  I got the kitchen scissors and cut a few pieces of the blue carpet and glued them to the seat.  Finally, hours later, I gave my mom the royal tour. 

At the end, I confessed.  I pointed out the holes.  “What, are you smoking?”  She asked.

“Well, no.  We threw a smoke bomb onto someone’s lawn and missed.”

And just like that, my mom let it drop. 

In the old days, my life wasn’t all rules and regulations and chores and to-do lists.

My life was fun and forgiveness and love.

I remember that now.  And someday, I hope, my kids will too.

But for now, I think I’ll head out for a drive.  It’s too pretty to stay at home today.

Oh, darn.

Someone’s borrowed my car again.




Labels: , ,

9 Comments:

At March 14, 2012 at 8:14 PM , Anonymous Leslicollins said...

I NEVER heard this one! She certainly did let it drop! You were more of a minx than I ever imagined! Great humor in this one as always!

 
At March 15, 2012 at 10:19 AM , Anonymous Lisat said...

Hilarious. I can relate to the teens and driving thing. Although we're finished that stage I recall being very unpopular for making them learn to use public transit. Also, they would talk about how they wanted to travel the world but then I explained they would definitely need to know how to use public transit in a foreign country never mind at home. I was very grumpy and tired at this stage of motherhood. Drive, nag, drive some more. Thanks for sharing that story. You made me smile!

 
At March 15, 2012 at 3:02 PM , Anonymous Caroline Gerardo said...

Hold the line General. It's our job to make them become self sustaining, they can't get there unless they get decent grades and survive. And soon in days and months they will be gone and we will miss the back packs and clothes on the floor. :)

 
At March 15, 2012 at 4:06 PM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

Sometimes it's important to remember the times we were let off lightly. There had to be some, right???

 
At March 16, 2012 at 6:02 AM , Anonymous JAUM said...

Out of curiosity, did your parents survive your childhood?

 
At March 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

That's too funny. I'm sure you'll all survive this process, even if it's a little crazed in the mean time!

 
At March 16, 2012 at 5:56 PM , Anonymous John said...

Have they called you "General" yet?

 
At March 17, 2012 at 6:05 AM , Anonymous Kenya Johnson said...

Oh darn! I guess I can relate even though my son is seven. I never get to use MY iPad. The old days were wonderful. I never had a smoke bomb adventure like that, but we did some "stuff".

 
At March 17, 2012 at 6:43 AM , Anonymous thepsychobabble said...

Hah! Nicely told:)

 

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