My mom raised three boys in the country outside of Philadelphia. Once June came around and school was out, she changed her hours at the hospital and worked nights so she could be at home during the day.
I’m sure that part of it was wanting to enjoy the time with her kids, but logic tells me that she needed to be there to protect her investment. My parents worked hard to build the house, and left to our own devices, my brothers and I probably would’ve found a way to reduce their parcel of land to smoldering ashes by the time they got home.
We would start out playing nice, building bed sheet forts and watching cartoons. But that quickly turned to tying firecrackers to doorknobs, drawing on each other with permanent marker and punching holes in each others bedroom doors.
Mom would toss us outside with a ‘get out and stay out!’ and who could blame her? So the three of us stood there on the front porch in our underwear (summer humidity and rural location dictated that we did everything in our skips) with our noses pressed up to the window, waiting to see if she was kidding and coming back. It all made sense. It was much harder for us to fuck up Mother Nature than Grammys heirloom china in the hutch.
Twenty-five years later, the nursing clog is on the other foot and I find myself in my mom’s shoes. Ava is a one-man wrecking crew. It’s like someone slipped a midget a speedball and turned them loose in a museum. I told her to go out on the deck with the dog, handed her some markers and a tablet and closed the door.
My mom had it right. The house was quiet. Charlie was sleeping, I was banged up on strong coffee and seriously getting my housekeeping on. After about fifteen minutes, I went back to check on the dynamic duo.
She hadn’t fallen out of a tree or eaten any poisonous berries. But I did find this migraine of a treasure map on the sliding glass windows. HOLY SHIT. What the hell was this – what kind of markers did I give her??
A seriously pissed off dog.