This week's article in the paper received a little "What the H?" editing, losing a couple of imperative paragraphs for the sake of space. So here it is as it was intended to be. And yes, my husband really did give me permission to speak of this episode...after a wee bit of cajoling:
“SHOT THROUGH THE HAND, AND YOU’RE TO BLAME—” I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes. In my home, anyway. You see, a few days ago, my husband was reassembling one of his guns and accidentally shot himself in the hand. And I don’t like to look for conspiracies, but it just so happened to coincide with the week he was supposed to be collecting for Friends of Scouting. Coincidence—or perfectly orchestrated? You be the judge.
Now I know what you’re all thinking—“Seriously? So like, is that allowed?”
But before you go flying off to the bullet store, let me assure you that no, that is NOT allowed. You still have to collect. And if, in fact, you DO drive a bullet into the wall of your own house—for WHATEVER reason—you had cuss well better make sure it goes through your own hand first, because this will shock the nurturing side of your wife into action. And then her hysterical outrage will be slightly tempered, because she will feel sorry for you. But she will still be angry. Because she WARNED you!
Now I’m pretty sure that I have never made a mistake, which is why it’s so easy for me to point out yours. And even easier to spy my own children’s.
Just recently my daughter received access to Facebook, and was given strict parental and sibling guidelines: “No duck face. No bathroom mirror shots. And no cryptic status updates.”
She crossed her heart and hoped to die, then went directly into the bathroom, and proceeded to break every commandment before the lock even clicked. But she couldn’t help herself. Because she’s twelve.
One day, we were all lamenting her lack of social media inhibitions, and decided to look up the beginnings of our own status updates to self-righteously prove that we were never like that.
“See? Look at this. Here’s what I wrote back in...ummm....wait, let’s try...here’s one that...no...that’s not...just a sec...holyyyyyy...you know what, never mind. HEY! WHO WANTS PIE FOR DINNER?”
But it was too late. For all of us. Because the duck face, mirror shot, cryptic status proof was right there on our timelines for all the world to see. And we were condemned, because we were NOT twelve.
Recently, I was talking with my mom and sister about times that we wish we could forget. Days of being loud and proud about things which should have been spoken of in hushed tones.
My mother told me of when she and my dad were first married, and her mother-in-law gifted them with a piano to put in their home, because my dad was a wonderful pianist and loved to play.
Well, Mom was very aware that the old mirrored upright didn’t “go” with her new gold velvet couch. Thus, rather than let people think she had questionable taste, she did what any dingbat newlywed would do—she put the piano out in the garage and never spoke of it again.
This reminded Kara about early in her marriage, when some family members were moving a piano into her new home. They stood at the door, sweating profusely and coughing up blood, eager to be let in so they could complete the job. But she came out with her finger to her lips, whispering that her baby was still napping, and could they maybe wait there until he woke up?
Then I told about when Sterling and I were moving into our first apartment, and we tore in and out of the driveway going a minimum of 45 mph. Our new neighbors asked us to slow down a little bit, so as not to kill their children. And we thought they were SO DUMB, because we didn’t HAVE any children of our own, so why should we VALUE them?
On and on went the humiliating stories, until our cheeks were in flames. Then, trying to save a small shred of my dignity, I ended one tale with, “I mean, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t COMPLETELY stupid about how I said it.”
Unbelieving crickets chirped.
“Never mind,” I admitted. “I’m not at all sure that I wasn’t completely stupid about how I said it.”
Well, anyway, as I said earlier on, I have never made “a” mistake. Rather, I have made MANY mistakes.
And as I help bandage my husband’s wound or stand watch on my street, resisting the urge to grab speeding teenagers by their ears and yank them out of their stupid cars so I can drop-kick them into nearby cornfields before they kill all of the children, I truly understand the debt of gratitude which I owe to the merciful, tolerant people in my life.
Benevolent, wise people who, over the years, dismissed my stupidity by blessing my heart, (even if they secretly rolled their eyeballs,) instead of calling me out and doing irreparable harm to our relationship. And this they did, believing that one day, I would DO better, because I would KNOW better.
Unfortunately “better” is a very subjective term. ;)