Them Crazy KidsI once served my kids toasted hot dog rolls for breakfast when I was too tired to make pancakes. This was shortly after my brother and I had a conversation about white trash at Wal-Mart, which our upper-bourgeoisie mentality deemed appropriate to spectate and judge. Later on that same morning, after the damning breakfast and several disciplinarian challenges, I slipped out the back door of my house to secretively smoke a cigarette. It was winter and the cold was chastising as I cupped my hands around the lighter. After I exhaled a few times, I realized that I was in full view of my neighbors' living room window. What would they think seeing me there smoking? Did I look like I should figuratively be wearing a house coat and curlers? Who was I really?
Rewind to the start of the day...
At 6 a.m. I was roused from a deep sleep by a voice calling, "Mom, Mom, MOMMM...." I turned over and opened my eyes to find a couple of heads inches away from mine. "We're hungry," the heads said.
It was a Monday, which usually meant school, but unfortunately for me, we were just starting the winter break. Now as a kid, I remember relishing school breaks as a time in which one could sleep in, but that was not the case with my offspring. At this time of the morning in the depth of coldness, it was still dark out.
An examination of the kitchen cupboards yielded oatmeal, raisins and various boxes of cold cereal, none of which my kids seemed to want.
"What do you guys want?" I barked, shielding my eyes from the glaring overhead light.
"Hot dogs!" they chimed.
After a lengthy search through the refrigerator, I delivered the bad news that we were, indeed out of hot dogs, but who really wants hot dogs at 6 a.m. in the morning in the dead of winter? My kids, that's who.
The next few minutes were spent enduring whining and fielding requests for various foods that we either did not have, or were completely inappropriate for breakfast (I know, I know, one might argue that hot dogs are not appropriate for breakfast), but still I had to draw the line at M&Ms.
Turning on the garbage disposal, I was taken aback by a horrible grinding noise. Stopping the system, I gingerly reached down the hole and instantly felt something grainy and gooey. Closer examination resulted in the following findings: apparently someone had rinsed Elmer's glue and novelty craft "googly eyes" down the sink.
"Who did this?" I asked, my patience as raw as my blood-shot eyes.
But nobody answered. They were too busy carrying on an argument in the other room over the remote. As I entered the room, I was met by crying, screaming and kicking. After physically breaking them up, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom.
I was just able to close the door and sit down when there was a small, persistent knock at the door.
"What???" I yelled.
"Mom? Mom? Are you in there?"
"What are you doing?"
After a hasty flush I exited the bathroom, only to find several blankets and pillows strewn across the floor, mixed with various stuffed animals and cut-up pieces of construction paper.
"What is going on?" I half asked, half lamented.
"We're having a party," they responded. "For the dog."
After several other incidents and the subsequent realization that we were out of coffee, I finally got to make them breakfast, which was the token "WT" entree of toasted hot dog buns with broken pieces of ice-cold butter scraped across the surface. It was then that I slipped outside to have my secret yet obligatory cigarette. Standing outside in the swirling snow and sobering cold, I had my epiphany. Who was I really to judge anyone? Day by day, minute by minute, it was a matter of survival.
Upon re-entering the house I was greeted by a small note that was left on the counter.
"Mom. Thak you fer beig a good Mom. I am hapy yur my Mom. I luv you."
A small, misty feeling in the back of my eyes and nose, followed by the realization that I just have to quit smoking...one of these days.