Contributed by “The Ed”
This is a serious blog, but there are occasions when I have to lighten up. Today is one of them.
My children are grown up now, but I have the memories that qualify me to talk on this topic. For example: At a school meeting one of the parents came up and said, “Oh, you must be Lisa’s Dad. How is the arm?”
Lisa had broken her left arm at the playground and still wore a cast because of it. I replied, “She gets her cast off next week. Is Sarah over the flu yet?” To this day I can’t tell you the woman’s name, I only knew her by her daughter.
We are known by our children.
This memory got me reflecting on another day in my life. I came home from work one day to a very unhappy house. I don’t even remember the crime that my children committed. I only remember that my wife wasn’t happy with me either. It was one of those reminders that while my children committed the crime, I committed the original sin. Fortunately my daughter had orchestra recital. I got to escape with my three children that evening. Or so I thought.
We split up at the auditorium. Lisa went to join the other students performing the recital. I took my two sons, Sean and David, to sit in the auditorium. The seats were theater types. They flipped up when you get up. To David who had never seen such a thing yet, they were an awesome toy. He would sit down, slide off, and have the seat pull up his shirt as it flipped up. Pretty soon his older brother was joining in. They were not hurting anything so I let them get it out of their system.
Lisa’s class was up on the stage and about to start the concert when my youngest let out a belch that rocked the auditorium. The lights had not yet dimmed but the crowd went silent. All eyes shifted over my way. Sean’s eyes grew big. “Wow, Dave, can you do that again!” he exclaimed.
Sotto voce and through clenched teeth I replied, “Sean I do not want you to encourage him.”
The concert started and still my sons were playing with the seats. The woman behind us was getting annoyed. She was giving me a glare that I first saw from one of the nuns in a Catholic school I attended. It was a look that would make the 4 foot 11 inch nun seem to be 10 feet tall. I don’t understand how or why that look still makes me cringe. There was no hope for it. I took my two sons to the foyer in the back of the auditorium.
It was not that long before Sean was chasing David. I picked Sean up and growled then had him repeat so I knew he got the message: “Don’t tease David,” he replied.
I let him go. I learned how to speak monster when my children were babes. Sometimes it worked. This time it didn’t. It was not long before the two were loudly rambunctious again. An older grandmotherly type appeared at the auditorium door exclaiming, “Your children are too loud.”
Then she gave me that look. That nun look. It was the same one that the lady behind us in the auditorium gave me earlier. Do women pass this to their daughters in their genes? Do women sit their daughters in front of a mirror and have them practice that look? I want to know!
Still there was no hope for it. We left the foyer for the hallway in back. If my boys got too loud this time I did not know what we were going to do. It was a cold and blustery evening. The next step would be outside in the cold.
My sons obligingly got quiet, too quiet. This is one of their danger signals. I hear that other children do the same thing when they are getting into trouble. The two of them were at the trophy case, trying to figure out how to open the lock. Their hands were dirty though I assert that they were clean when we arrived. Smudges were all over the glass. I pulled them away and told them, “Boys, this case has a glass front and it is locked. That means the owners want you to look at the trophies but not touch them.”
I cleaned the smudges and this time they stayed away from the trophy case. It seemed forever, and yet the concert did end. My daughter came out and the four of us went to the car. As we entered my daughter said, “Alright, which of you two did it. Which one burped?”
I was held motionless with brain freeze for a few seconds. I hardly noticed Sean saying that David did it. “You could tell it was David?” I asked weakly.
“I couldn’t tell from up there which one it was but I could see it was one of them,” she said.
I felt the cold through my jacket as I turned the key in the ignition. I wasn’t sure this was how I wanted to be known.
My children have grown up and all are doing well. I am a proud papa and grandfather. I am happy being known by my children. Actually, I always was.