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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Channeling Erma...No More Oatmeal Kisses

I knew I'd be having a big bowl of drama served with a side dish of drama for breakfast this morning when I let Lucky Dog into Dracen's room (he sleeps in there) before I went to bed at eleven last night and found the t.v. wide open and Dracen faking sleep.  

I didn't let on that I knew he was faking (but Mama always knows).  I just went over and turned the t.v. off and went back out but while I was brushing my teeth and slathering my face with various creams and potions guaranteed to give me visible results in 30 days, he popped his head in and said Lucky woke him up.  "Uh huh.  Sure he did, Dray, sure he did."

So of course he dished me out an extra dose of drama when I attempted to wake him this morning.  After I yelled down the hall for about the fifth time for him to get dressed, I heard a big bang, yelled out "What the heck was that?!" and received crocodile tears and whining in response. 

I poked my head in to find him sitting in the floor crying, holding his ear and pointing a finger of blame at the bed for throwing him out. When I told him I knew he'd stayed awake watching t.v. last night, he denied any such claim, sticking to his story that Lucky Dog woke him up.  

He finally made it to the breakfast table where he ate his bagel in slow motion, with his eyes still shut, and then proceeded to throw me his I don't feel good, I need to stay home sales pitch. 

I didn't buy a thing. 

Although I knew how he felt.  I stay up way too late every single night and hate myself for it every single morning when that alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m.  I wanted nothing more than to climb back in that bed and call the whole day off and actually almost had the thought that I'll be glad when they can get themselves up and off in the morning.  

But I stopped that thought dead in its tracks because I know that is not true.  There is no other thing I'd really rather be doing with my time, as miserable as it sometimes seems. And every time I get to feeling that way, I remind myself of Erma Bombeck's No More Oatmeal Kisses...

No More Oatmeal Kisses-January 26, 1969
(Erma Bombeck)

     A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome, that lonely period after the children are grown and gone.  Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots.  The baby is teething;the boys are fighting.  My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"
     OK. One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!" And they will. Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do...and don't slam the door!"  And they won't. 
     You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves.  Hangers in the closet.  Animals caged.  And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way."  And it will. 
     You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company." And you'll eat it alone.
     You'll say, "I want complete privacy on the phone.  No dancing around.  No demolition crews.  Silence!  Do  you hear?" And you'll have it.  
     No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti.  No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.  No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.  No more clothespins under the sofa.  No more playpens to arrange a room around. 
     No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent.  No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom.  No more iron-on patches, rubber bands for ponytails, tight boots or wet knotted shoestrings.
     Imagine.  A lipstick with a point on it. No baby-sitter for New Year's Eve.  Washing only once a week.  Seeing a steak that isn't ground.  Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.
     No PTA meetings.  No carpools. No blaring radios.  No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night.  Having your own roll of Scotch tape.
     Think about it.  No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.  No more tooth fairy.  No giggles in the dark.  No knees to heal, no responsibility.
     Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?" and the silence echoing, "I did."

Sigh... Gets me every single time.Thanks for the reminder, Erma.  Thanks for the reminder.  

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  1. Funny I was just putting some old tapes away in the basement of my daughters....Hilary Duff movie and some playstation games. I can't get rid of them. I was thinking geez, she is 17 already. What I wouldn't give to have another day when they were little.

  2. I clipped that Erma Bombeck article out of a newspaper years ago and I still have it to this day. Sure speaks to a mother's heart, doesn't it? Time slips through your hands so quickly!

  3. Wham! Powerful stuff, Erma. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. That practically makes me cry because I'm there!!!

  5. Made me cry.

    After the kids got home today and started their homework, (after threatening them to behave) I went out for a 3.5 mile run. (Okay I walked half of it but still) I came home 40 minutes later to homework done, Youngest playing basketball with Tony as he had just gotten home from work, a clean house, and Oldest setting up for dinner.

    Never in a million years did I think I'd ever get to this point in my life... but here it is. And all too soon, I will blink and they will be gone, off to college, like Bonus brother. *sigh*

    So yeah... all that to say, I'm right there with you.

  6. Aw, that is a sweet story. Kids grow way too fast.