Thursday, August 6, 2009

My PR problem

I found this piece as I was looking through my records. It was a draft that never saw daylight. Since I've been a bit heavy lately, I thought some lightness might be in order. It is supposed to be a humor blog after all.

Back when my oldest was a mere four years old, we were visiting my husband's parents over Christmas vacation. While enjoying dinner, my son turned to me and asked out of the blue, "Do you remember that time when I got hit by a car at McDonald's?"

The clinking of silverware and audible gasps were everywhere, including from me. "What?" I stammered, "That NEVER happened." I explained firmly.

All eyes were on me as he insisted. "Yes it did. I remember." Thank goodness my husband stepped in to quash the false rumor before it hit the internet.

A few years later, family was coming into town and I had spent the week cleaning. My children, having long ago grown weary of trying to help their mother get the home "Relative clean" as versus everyday tolerable, watched with bored expressions. I did not consider their observations of my work to be a potential hazard to my reputation or at least the reputation I was attempting to cultivate as I wiped down the refrigerator and washed out the drawers.

Then, my family arrived. My daughter brought my family to the kitchen and proudly opened the ice box. "See...that tray there had green and black stuff in it but Mommy cleaned it out because you were coming."

"Ahhhhhhhhh. Why don't you come into the living room and I'll bring out some pastries and coffee?" I scrambled but the damage had been done.

A decade later, while the older children have mastered the social rules of not DELIBERATELY putting forth a poor showing when company arrives, they lack nuance.

This morning, my oldest daughter was put out because her father was doing a double run to shuttle children to school, first the oldest to the Metro by 7 a.m., then doubling back to pick up all those in tow for school. "I want to go with Dad." she humphed.

"Why?" her grandmother asked.

"Because when Mom and Dad do a double run, they always wind up talking and if they talk then we're late!" She folded her arms. "I hate being late." she added for emphasis.

"Excuse me sweetie." I felt a mild torque of annoyance at her announcement. "How many times have you been late this year?"

"Twice." She said with a smugness born of pure adolescence.

I considered the two incidents. Once was because the fish pond had nearly drained and if their father and I hadn't worked together, the fish would have died. And the other time was because she could not find her shoes. Pointing these facts out privately, she unfolded her arms but still looked annoyed at being left behind.

" won't be late today." I answered.

Sure enough, her father pulled in a few moments later and I made a point of saying, "Can't talk, you don't want the kids to be late." He nodded.

Then I went inside to wipe down the refrigerator drawers, just in case they got in an accident at McDonalds on the way to school that day.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Ha! Little kids value attention over the truth. Several years ago, I received condolences from a well-meaning kindergarten teacher. She took me aside to offer her sympathy on our family's loss. Puzzled, I inquired about what she knew. "Oh, yes" she assured me, "your daughter told us all about how her grandmother died in a car accident yesterday." I thanked her for her kindness and quickly informed her of the facts. BOTH grandmothers were well, healthy and enjoying their lives in Florida and Maryland respectively. When I later asked my 5 year old daughter what would lead her to tell such a tall tale, she explained, "Mom, she was so nice when I told her. She even let me have a juice box during class." !!

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