It happened again in a posh upscale mall. This time it was the youngest who had deigned to enhance the tiles of beige and cream with his ecru-hued dinner. At least his color combination was impeccable. By this time, my cleaning prowess had elevated to ninja level; I had to wipe the mall restroom too when his digestive tract decided it had more to share to the world.
My mother assured me I hadn’t seen the half of it. I wondered what worse things I’d done as a child to make her say that. I have no recollection of having made her acquainted with the byproducts of failed digestion. But then, our adventures together may have been of a more extreme nature.
There was that time I slept at the car’s back seat and downed a lungful of carbon monoxide. Senseless and, according to her, looking possessed and grinning like the devil, I very nearly crossed over.
Then there was that unique swimming episode when I plunged into the mouth of a dead volcano that had been converted into a water reservoir, with my salvation in the hands of a man, who himself, did not know how to swim. I swear my mother’s agitated gesticulations during and after my Olympic worthy dive could have won her the championship at a hip hop dance contest.
Multiply all my other escapades by six (my siblings) and you’ll arrive at the conclusion: No wonder my mom is one crazy tamale.
I strongly suspect though that I am fast approaching the point of “seeing the half of it” or at least reaching my mother’s level of insanity. I have, after all, carried an unconscious 25 lb asthmatic boy for three hours because the ER had no beds left, and I have held vigil and cleaned after a bloody food poisoned little girl. And yet, that really is just part of the half of it, because they’ll grow up and there’ll be more frightening things to look out for, like prom dates and abominable teen fashion.
This isn’t intended to scare. If anything, this is really an exhortation to be kind and forgiving of the people who’ve raised you. Ruling out some detestable exceptions, many parents do the best they can with their limited skills and understanding and despite their frustrated dreams. The best of us expect no other reward than the memories of little arms lovingly wrapped around our abdominal spare tires and soft grateful kisses on our raisin faces permanently wrinkled with worry.
Cheers to all parents past and present who have seen and survived the halfway mark.