I was perusing a blog that I read daily due to his wit and way with words, Suldog, and while pouring over his story of breaking into his own house I started to laugh remembering a time I had a somewhat similar experience. This got me thinking about times in my past and what significance they had on my life. They could have been fun, sad, ridiculous, stupid, silly, or a myriad of other emotions but all of them opened my eyes and in some way shaped who I am now.
Of course there are the customary moments in a person’s life that they will never forget: losing their virginity, the first time they puke after too much alcohol, getting married, having a baby, a first kiss, getting their driver’s license, death of a loved one, a fight. The list goes on, of course tweaked somewhat based on the individual in question. In my life there are times that I can not help but think back on and smile for what I learned, did or otherwise felt about the experience regardless if it was good or bad so here are a couple Jenn’s Life short stories to make you laugh. (Names are omitted but you know who you are)
The Jacket and the Rake
When I was in high school we lived in a ranch and I grew up with a fairly strict mom who had me call her at work every day after school. The call had to be at the same time every day (except when I was in sports or other after school activities) or I would be grounded. Being grounded was not exactly unfamiliar territory to me but generally I wanted to save those times for something more significant than just being late so I tried my best to make that call every day.
One late fall morning it was unseasonably nice out so I went to school and left my jacket at home. Our dining table was directly across from the front door and I had hung my jacket over the back of my chair just as I had done a probable thousand times before. When I arrived home it dawned on me that my house keys were in the pocket of that very jacket. I pushed open the mail slot in the front door to look inside and there was my jacket staring back at me, taunting me with its closeness but laughing at me because it was all too far away.
At that moment I was certainly late in calling my mom and the phone was likely ringing with her, frustrated, on the other end of the line. As a resourceful gal I thought to myself ‘if there was just a way I could get that jacket I could get the keys through the mail slot and let myself in’. Frantically I searched the yard for some kind of assistance tool; there was the rake. I prayed the handle was long enough to hook under the jacket, pull it towards the door without dropping it and that the keys would not fall out in the process. If ever a person was to channel MacGyver that would have been the time I did so.
Slowly, I inserted the rake handle and crossed the hall towards my chair. It was just long enough and I managed to get the jacket on the end. I backed the handle out of the mail slot holding my breath the entire time for fear that exhaling would send the jacket straight to the floor. I got it to the door and grabbed the collar. Now my tiny little hands really came in to play as I finagled the jacket around so I could get the keys out of the pocket, pull them through and let myself in the house. I felt like I had just conquered the world as I called my mom to relay the story of my reason for being late and achievement on getting into the house. She did not ground me but did insist that I no longer leave my keys in my jacket by the front door as it was seemingly too easy to get in.
No, it is NOT her Sister!
Although I had to check in with my mom everyday after school I was often allowed to go back out and hang with friends for the afternoon before dinner. It was a rare occasion that my friends and I would be at my house, we were not allowed to do so while my mom was not home and since she worked during the day that was normally the case. I was allowed to be at my friend’s houses without parents after school but, regardless if parents were out during the day, I was never allowed to spend the night without one present.
I am not sure what my mom was afraid of happening to any of us girls back then. None of us were drinkers, only one of us had a serious boyfriend who lived in the vicinity (mine was over fifty miles away), we were dorks who listened to New Kids on the Block and made up stupid little stories. Basically the top three scares of parents were off the table with us: sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. No matter how I fought this and how many of my friends were left home overnight alone, it just was not going to happen so when I asked to spend the night at D’s the first question to come out of my mom’s mouth was ‘is her mother home?’
D’s family spent almost every weekend at their place in New Hampshire and my mom certainly knew that so when I said ‘of course’ she immediately asked to speak with her. I told her we were in D’s room downstairs so I would track her down and have her call my mom back. Admittedly they had never met face to face, never talked on the phone and until this moment I never felt as if my friend’s freedom was an issue in my life but suddenly I had to come up with a mom in the next five minutes. In addition to me and D, K was also going to be spending the night because we were having such a good time watching some NKOTB video so why not keep that geek train rolling into the wee hours of the morning right? Sadly, my mom knew K’s voice so we were left with only one choice.
We quickly bribed D’s brother to make the call, insisting he use the highest pitched voice he could muster. He was only about thirteen at the time so we figured we were home free. He called and they talked for a couple minutes until my mom said she would like to come over and meet her. Not willing to admit that we were screwed we put his mom’s pink robe on him, a towel on his head, make up on his face and even a beautiful necklace to fully capture the effect of “woman”. He lay down on the couch and got under a blanket to watch some TV as my mom arrived. She came in and he did not get up but greeted her with the same pitch telling her how it would be fine if I spent the night. Looking back I can not believe none of us lost it but we managed to hold it together as my mom very calmly told me to get my things because I was going home.
Conceding defeat, I said bye to my friends and headed for the car. Once inside my mom began to tell me that she was not an idiot and sternly warned me that if we ever tried to pull off D’s sister being her mother again I was surely grounded. I had to reveal the secret, it was killing me and there was no fear now as the night had come to a close so I turned to my mom and said ‘that was not her sister, it was her brother.’
There are times in the life of a parent where they are tempted to laugh at the things their children do but in some of those instances they know if they do so the ground they are standing on to enforce will surely slip away. This was one of those times for my mom. I watched her face as her mouth remained stern but her eyes began to smile. I knew she wanted to laugh. I knew she wanted to burst out into the hysterical cackle we all used just a short half hour before as we dressed him up but she somehow managed to hold her ground and we drove home in silence. To this day I do not know if she ever burst out laughing at the raw hilarity of it all but I really hope she did. My only regret from that night is not taking pictures.