Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What I'm Thankful For................

When my daughter was seven she thought sledding down the stairs on her terrycloth robe would be fabulously entertaining. I caught her about halfway down, before anything more serious than rug burns materialized. Like every other parent in the history of man, I secretly wondered how my progeny could possess absolutely no common sense.

Since then, my children have attempted any number of death defying feats of stupidity and, on occasion, I still feel like asking them if they’ve lost their minds. However, I’m not so far away from my own romps with idiocy that I underestimate its draw.

When I was a wee little girl, Tom and Jerry was my favorite cartoon. In one episode, Jerry the mouse overflowed the kitchen sink and then made the water freeze by opening the freezer door. His skating rink was complete with a rotating jello mold that cast multi-colored spotlights on our fine protagonist’s silhouette.

Of course, my brothers and I weren’t that na├»ve. We knew the water wouldn’t really freeze. We used dish soap instead. Our mother was taking one of her famous, ‘I’m not really sleeping, I’m resting my eyes’ naps and we, being the industrious little geniuses we were, took full advantage of the twenty minutes without supervision. There was a half an inch of sudsy water covering kitchen, breakfast nook, and hallway floors and we were squelching the loudest of our gleeful yells while tossing each other around our make shift slip and slide abode. Then the phone rang.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you knew exactly what was going to happen before it did, but you were powerless to stop it? The world becomes all slow motion and adrenaline and there’s no where you can run. That’s what it felt like as we watched our mother, running into the kitchen to answer the phone, sailing past with one arm still outstretched for the receiver, the wide eyed look of confusion then fear for a fleeting second and then... bam! Into the open utility closet she flew.

Sitting here at my keyboard, I can still feel how slippery the floor was as we tried to scurry out of the room, knowing we had to go right past a very annoyed mother type person on the way out the door. Evil little miscreant that I am, I still find it pretty funny. I have a sneaking suspicion those were the types of events that caused my favorite cartoons to lose favor with parents... ones who don’t want to take medication in order to stay on an even keel.

No mothers were damaged in the composing of this; she’s actually a good enough sport to laugh when we retell the story. I started this piece intending to spruce it up and submit it for publication... but I changed my mind and posted it here. With all of the posts around the blogosphere about what we’re thankful for, I thought this would serve as my own mini-prayer... I’m thankful for daredevil children, who play together and are truly friends – I hope they keep that with them forever because your siblings are the only people in this world who will be with you for, God willing, all of your life and that you can always count on to be on your side – even when you’re wrong. I have a two brothers and that’s the way it is for us and should be for everyone. I’m thankful for them, my friends, and many other gifts in this life – I’m also thankful for so many cyber friends, who keep me motivated and make me think... I hope this story made you chuckle a bit, or at least made you thankful that your own kids aren’t as bad as I was ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving.


Mary Witzl said...

Well, I'm thankful for having read this! I laughed great belly laughs at the thought of your poor mother sailing across the slippery floor and slamming into the utility closet. Please apologize to her for me; I've done my share of slipping on my kids' spilt toiletries, tripping over their shoes and coats left in the Wrong Places, etc.

My sisters and I once took turns jumping from a high chair onto my parents' old bed, which had been temporarily moved into my room. We'd all managed about six great flying jumps each when one of the iron legs finally gave up the ghost. I'll never forget the sad look on my mother's face afterwards -- worse than any physical punishment. Oh, the guilt.

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks for the chuckle. I'm off to put the turkey in the oven. Have a great holiday!

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Mary,

Don't worry about my mom, she routinely gets even with me by telling my own children all of those horrendous stories (the ice skating rink wasn't even the worst one).. then I have to spend days worried about the little gleam in their eyes, knowing full well that when whatever they're up to comes to light I'll be greeted with, "but mom, you did such and so when you were my age..."

Are you celebrating Thanksgiving there, Mary? Or is today your average Thursday? Either way, I hope it's a good one.

Hi Jaye,

Glad you enjoyed it - I hope the turkey melts in your mouth and your holiday is fantastic.

The Anti-Wife said...

What a wonderful story. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary Witzl said...

We almost always end up celebrating Thanksgiving several weeks later than we should. My husband finds it all very foreign, though he does like the turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pies.

Last year, we celebrated with a half Canadian friend. Her pumpkin pies were made with molasses and big chunks of pumpkin; no cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or ginger. It was good, but so very odd.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving! We'll probably end up having ours in mid December...

Moanna said...

This made me laugh. Reminds me of the time I cheered my big sister on as she climbed up the kitchen cabinets, toes on the shelf above the kitchen sink, to reach the candy I'd told her was hidden in the top shelf. Then my mom walks in and my sister jumps down into the sink, breaking my mom's favorite teapot. It wasn't my fault. It. Wasn't.

Gotta say, chunky pumpkin pie?? Never heard of that before.

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Anti-Wife,

Thanks for stopping in and I hope you're having a wonderful holiday weekend.


Well, I'm sure you've gotten used to a few of your husband's holidays which were foreign to you - what is boxing day, anyway? I keep hearing it referred to, but never found out what it was about exactly...

I've never heard of chunky pumpkin pie, either... and I'm not a huge fan of molasses - a few years ago I made gingerbread cookies from scratch and the smell of the molasses made me completely gag - I couldn't even eat the damn cookies, though I hear they were pretty good.

Hi Moanna,

Nice to meet you - I loved your list of things to be thankful for, with addendums... another plus to siblings, they make fantastic accomplices!

WordVixen said...

Two things. One, that post was hilarious! Two, the first time I made gingerbread cookies on my own, I couldn't find the molasses. So I used pancake syrup. It was actually pretty good!

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Wordvixen,

One, glad you liked it and I hope your Thanksgiving/birthday was spectacular!

Two, pancake syrup sounds interesting... I'm sticking with the storebought for gingerbread cookies, and we do a gingerbread house from a kit every year... but I make so many other baked goods at christmas time it's not like it makes a huge difference.

Thanks for stopping in.

Travis Erwin said...

Great post, so much better than mine on the subject of thankfulness. And I remember that Tom and Jerry episode.

Ello said...

Merry, I love this story! And your mom is definitely cool to be such a good sport. The only story I have is where I went running for the phone, slipped on a wet spot that my sister made after spilling her water on the hardwood floors and flying into the wall where two walls jut into a corner. My foot flew into it and I broke two toes. As I lay howling on the floor with two toes making a perfect right angle on my foot, my mother comes over, takes one look, leans over and snaps them together in one swift motion thereby making me pass out in pain. But that was the best thing she could do for me - or at least that is what the doctor told me.

How's the writing going?

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Travis,

I loved your thanksgiving post, I thought it was very sweet... and I just knew you had to be a classic cartoon connessieur...

Hi Ello,

Well, my writing was going pretty well, but now my foot hurts! Ouch! Seriously, I can feel that, I'm not sure if it hurt worse to read what it looked like or how your mom fixed it..

The writing's going okay today - I'm really inspired to get some work in, but the kids are home so I seem to be interrupted every time I get a really good rhythm going. I think I might go to bed extra early tonight so I can get up before them in the morning (my boys are fairly early risers, so I'll have to set an alarm if I expect that ploy to work).

Thanks for asking, Ello, how goes it by you?

Shelly said...

Thanks for the laugh, Merry. That's a fun story to recall, isn't it? I'm fortunate to have precisely the type of relationship you describe with my sisters, and I am thankful for that.

Hope you've had a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Shelly,

I hope your Thanksgiving's been equally wonderful - are you still home with your mom and dad or are you back in Singapore?

Ello said...

All writing for me has practically stopped while I am in the midst of grading 40+ 15 page papers for my classes. I can't wait for classes to be over - for me to finish grading everything and then I will be able to write! Well, until the kids are out of school...

Travis Erwin said...

Merry, you are a winner. Check my blog for details.

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Ello,

It's really hard to get in the writing time with just the kids, I can't imagine trying to juggle career, kids, and writing. I'm wishing you huge blocks of solitary writing time in the near future.


Thank you thank you, I am doing huge curtsies. It was a fun contest - I stopped in already and left you a comment on your latest post.

Angela WD said...

Oh. My. Gosh. That was so funny. I'm glad your mother survived. Thanks for sharing!

silken said...

great story! you are braver than I was! :)

Precie said...

LOL!!!!!!! Great story! Your mom must have a heroic sense of humor!

Rachel said...

Oh my word! What a laugh I got out of this!! I read JerseyGirl's glowing review of your blog and had to come over here to check you out!
Love what I've read so far. My brothers and I have many Tom and Jerry moments from our childhood and I see my own two spawns (;-)) following in our stellar footsteps!!
Thanks for the giggles!

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Angela,

Glad you liked it, it was almost as much fun to write as it is to tell over the dinner table.

Hi Silken,

I think the bravery comes from being the youngest and only girl... if I didn't at least fake some backbone, I'd have gotten teased mercilessly.

Hi Precie,

My mom's a little nuts, actually, but in the good way - we had the mom that all our friends thought was the 'cool' mom... I can't compete with her stories which probably kept me out of some trouble growing up... after all, how much trouble do you have to get into to shock a mother that once stole a paddy wagon (I kid you not, I'll have to blog that one some day)

Hi Rachel,

I think every healthy adult should have at least one Tom and Jerry story in their childhood... great to see you - I'll have to stop by and see what your little ones are up to - sometimes the kid stories can tickle you more than anything the silly adults can come up with.