Sloan was also very disappointed on her trip to the beach this year when she was told they were going to take a “ferry” ride. She was picturing a “fairy” and I’m sure envisioning a magical ride on a beautiful winged, mythical creature with a flowing dress, sprinkling fairy dust through the sky. Needless to say, she was very confused when she saw the big white, not so exciting boat they would be boarding.
My five-year-old granddaughter, Saylor, was quietly listening to the adults bemoan the responsibilities attached to being a boss or the one in charge in their places of business when she innocently asked, “do bosses still have to work?” Of course, we all chuckled and assured her that yes, bosses do still have to work. I believe she just pictured those in charge with their feet propped up on their desks watching everyone else do their work. We certainly burst her bubble.
She also explained to me exactly what her future prince (husband) would look like (I have that carefully stowed away so I can pull it out and embarrass her one day). She stated he would be tall with blue eyes, black hair, a big nose, larger than her dad’s, and ride a horse. She also would have a horse and their names would be Birdie One and Birdie Two. They will have five dogs, five children and five rooms in their castle (she certainly has a thing about the number five).
My children also had their share of interesting ways of thinking. I remember attending an event with my five-year-old daughter, Joy, that my mother was hosting. They were discussing the absence of one of their friends, stating they knew she wasn’t feeling well, but were not sure what she was suffering from. Joy quickly chimed in, “well, I think she has consternation.” Who knows, maybe she did have unexpected feelings of anxiety, as that is the meaning of that word, but I really don’t think that is what Joy was thinking!
When my children were growing up, we didn’t have a lot of extra cash, so I often went to yard sales to purchase their clothes and toys. One day someone commented on Joy’s beautiful eyes and asked her where she got them, meaning from her mother or father. After thinking for a moment, her reply was, “I believe my mother got them at a yard sale.”
The story that was the most embarrassing for me began one Sunday morning. I was getting my four children ready for church, two twin infants, Joy who was six and my son Curtis who was four. I asked Joy and Curtis to please stay inside and stay clean while I got the twins ready. Of course, they did not, coming inside with wet, newly cut grass all over their shoes. By the time I finally had everyone ready to go out the door, I was frustrated and frazzled and used two words that I never allowed to be said in my house, shut up. My frantic command was, “just shut up and get in the car!” We proceeded to church and as I sat there in my up-front pew, with everything completely quiet, Joy looked up at me and said in her not-so-quiet voice in front of everyone, “Mommy you said a bad word this morning.” As you can imagine, I was mortified!
The next story is not just about what was said, but also what was done! The twins were both in their car seats (they were much different back then, not quite as child proof). I had to pick up something off a friend’s porch, so I put the van in park, turned off the engine, keys in the ignition, and ran to the porch. In that amount of time my toddler, Matthew, had channeled his inner Houdini, wriggled out of his car seat, climbed up front, turned the key in the ignition, knocked the car out of gear and started drifting backwards. I chased the moving car as it sped down the driveway, crossed a street, and t-boned a parked car, totaling it. All with the driver door still open. As I breathlessly approached the wrecked cars, horrified by what I might find, there was my toddler standing on the seat holding on to the steering wheel smiling up at me. His brother, David, however, was still strapped into his car seat in the back crying and yelling, “I didn’t do it, it was him!”
Truly, there was never a dull moment in my house while raising my children, and there still isn’t as I enjoy life with my grandchildren, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. They may be days filled with chaos and commotion, but they are also filled with love and laughter. That is why we must “enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.” Kurt Vonnegut Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director, Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce