COLUMN: Trouble with siblings

DISCLAIMER: No little old ladies were hurt before, during or after the making of this story.

Nine o’clock on a Friday evening, the phone rings and it’s our oldest son. In a most condescending tone, a tone cultivated over years of hoping for the day he would outwit his mother, he asked if I knew the whereabouts of my 15-year-old daughter. I could tell he was grinning on the other end, savoring some knowledge that I did not know. My hackles rose up and I wanted to go into attack mode. This was the son that caused more worry and calamity in his 23 years than a normal human should be allowed and he was asking me the location of our obedient, law abiding, darling daughter. The nerve. The audacity.

WAIT … did I know where she was? Phew, of course I did. She was at a sleepover. Uh oh! I tried not to panic. We knew the friend — good kid. We knew the parents — excellent. Bases covered, so I thought.

I assured my son that I did know where she was and he mocked me in the way a child does when they finally have the chance to prove one of their parents wrong. “Are you sure?” he asked. I was dumbstruck by the realization that maybe I didn’t know the exact location of our youngest, brilliantly perfect daughter. THE RAT!

Many of you may have felt that jolt of shock and fear upon realizing you’ve been hoodwinked by your kid. I’m sure you’ll understand that I was overcome with worry. Oh, please don’t let her be drunk and scantily clad on the back of a Harley with a biker named Brutus. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced the lowering of your high parental pedestal, hang tight, its coming.

Through gritted teeth, I conceded to my defeat and asked the dreaded question, “Where is she?” Turned out he was at Wal-Mart and had been nearly run down by a deranged horde of teenage girls racing around the store on borrowed Wal-Mart bikes. According to our son, the store was now a war zone. A veritable Siege of Sarajevo. Little old ladies were down and wounded, racks of clothing were overturned, babies were crying, alarms were sounding and it was all the fault of my sweet, innocent daughter.

I grabbed the husband and dragged him to the car while explaining, in no rational terms, that our daughter’s future depended upon us getting to Wal-Mart IMMEDIATELY! I can proudly say I hit the one in a million lottery when I met that man. He balances my insanity with reason, my short temper with peaceful understanding and manages to ease my desire to murder my unruly children by reminding me that I’m just not cut out for penitentiary life. He calmed me down and I explained the entire story. Then he proceeded to laugh until he cried. I wanted to clobber him.

He gently reminded me of the time our three boys, then 9, 6 and 3, cracked the code on the childproof barbecue lighter and set the new kitchen linoleum on fire. He recapped the traumatization of the neighbor’s cat when our sons “accidently” dropped her in the hot tub. Sorry for that Snowflake. He mentioned cutting classes, detentions and countless phone calls from angry ex-girlfriends. UGH! He even retold the tale of the night we picked a son up from the police station after he and his nit-wit friends ran through a football game in nothing but their “tighty whities.” As usual, my amazing hubby managed to put things into shining perspective. Riding bikes around Wal-Mart wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t a felony …was it?

I expected police, ambulances and possibly the National Guard when we arrived, but nope. What we found was our daughter laughing hysterically at an irritated older brother. His hopes of corporal punishment were dashed to bits when a chuckling security guard told us that the girls loved the bikes and suggested we buy one for Christmas. SERIOUSLY? Although we punished our daughter for neglecting to ask permission to relocate from sleepover to superstore, she took it like a champ and exclaimed that it was worth it. Thankfully the Wal-Mart staff said it was the most fun they’d had in a while and contrary to our son’s account, no damage was done. There are benefits to living in Berkshire County where people often calm mischievous teens instead of calling the S.W.A.T. team.  Special thanks to the Wal-Mart security dude who, as we drove off said, “At least they weren’t robbing the place!”

The moral of this story folks is that in extreme situations involving siblings don’t panic unless you see blood. You see, somewhere deep down inside each child is the burning desire to witness their siblings doing something monumentally senseless and preferably illegal. They wish for it in hopes of making their parents forget the many idiotic things they themselves have done throughout the years. Like we would ever forget. Our children love one another (mostly) and I know they will always be there to pick each other up after a colossal fall but trust me when I tell you; they are waiting and hoping for the fall. Heck, they might even stick a foot out every once in a while.

Nik Davies spends most of her available time dreaming up stories and writing them down. She’s the author of the hit YA Fantasy thriller “Fif15teen” and lives alone in Pittsfield unless you count her husband, children, and the ghosts of Fred and Bob their dearly departed tree frogs. Find her on Facebook and Twitter


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