I’ve kept journals for each of my daughters since they were born…it’s been a minute or two. So as I go through some of their escapades over the years, I think that Erma Bombeck may definitely have been on to something when she said, “All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.” I know I’ve lived, breathed, and bought the t-shirt to explain those courage-filled moments that I’ve experienced many, many times over the years, some of which involved a white carpet or two.
Take the time that I had just (and by just, I mean minutes before) finished paying a gentleman for having cleaned my off-white carpets…they were pristine clean and just glistened in the sunlight…only to hear what I thought was a tap running in the bathroom! So wrong…so very wrong was I. That faucet was my youngest daughter’s pooch who felt that these fresh carpets were a little off, and so she christened them with enough urine to fill a stadium. I may…and I am not over-exaggerating when I say this…have had a Category 7 meltdown at that point.
Or the time that our first dog, Easy (my eldest daughter’s name choice, not mine) got into some freshly watered floor plants in my absence, turned them over and rolled into all that wet mud, grinding it into my off-white carpets. What remained was a nice hue of brown that stayed in their fibres for the entirety of their existence, no matter how hard I tried to remove the stains. Another cause for a meltdown.
Or the off-white carpet in one daughter’s room that resembles something akin to an explosion of apocalyptic proportions with remnants of make-up and hair products ground into its fibers just for kicks, more of said puppy’s lack of bladder control and an overall sense of a teenager’s wild kingdom. I can’t say that installing creamy coloured rugs was an act of courage…it was more likely just plain denial about what lay ahead with toddlers and teens. Either way, I won’t be winning any awards for my interior designer home!
Erma also went on to say that “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” Based on these experiences alone, and as a mother to now three adult daughters, I may have spent the better part of my parenting life in perpetual ‘guffaw mode’.
One daughter has lived the past six years of her life travelling the world, living in tents on the side of mountains. Back in civilization, shutting doors wasn’t really her thing. And by doors, I mean cupboard, closet and exterior doors. Now, the cupboard and closet doors aren’t an issue for her, because at 5’1”, she can generally coast underneath them unscathed. Her mother and younger sister, however, have sported the odd bruise over the years as they rammed into said doors with their heads down…because who expects a door to be open in the middle of a hallway! Bruises aside, the real issue was her inability to shut the exterior doors…that isn’t really a thing in a tent. As I wasn’t a huge fan of Pepe Le Pew gracing my threshold through the back door, uninvited in the middle of the night, let’s just say that my reaction to this gaffe was enough to rid her of this habit.
Now, reining in my youngest daughter was also a challenge at times. She is a climber…and a swimmer…and an escape artist…who has kept us on our toes many, many, many a moment in her childhood. Like the time that she climbed a 40-foot tree at the age of three because she liked the view, only to be too tired to climb down, which meant that her mother had to hike a 25-foot ladder up the tree and them climb the remaining 15 feet to retrieve her almost-napping child. Or the time that she thought she could jump into the deep end of the pool because her goggles were sure to keep her afloat. Or the time that she decided to play hide-‘n-seek with my mother, but failed to mention that this was a game that they were playing and was MIA for 90 minutes, hiding in a box in the basement while my family cased the neighborhood looking for her. I can tell you that I wasn’t laughing then, but I might giggle about these memories now.
Then, there is our middle daughter who brought with her all the uniqueness in the world, an eclectic mish mash of personality and pizzazz. Growing up, certain fabrics and textures drove her over the edge…yes, she was my spirited wonder. To compensate, she came up with her own style and honed it over the years. To say that I learned to stare down strangers who would openly gawk at the wildness of her ensembles would be an understatement, but stare back I would. Seriously, what is not to love about a bathing suit topped with a tutu, a plaid jacket and rubber boots when cruising through the mall. As long as it wasn’t dirty or torn, she was good to go! With this child, I learned quickly not to sweat the small stuff, as it wasn’t a battle that was worth getting in to. And now, when she looks back at pictures of herself in her childhood and cringes over her choice of outfits, I howl… as I post the odd photo of her for friends and family to see.
As I think back on those memories, Erma was right…if you can’t fix it, you can definitely laugh!