In my humble opinion, you can’t beat the words that spring from the mouths of kids.
This story dates back to 1953, sitting in the car under a street light at my home when Melvin asked me to get a box out of the glove compartment.
Excited, we passed the rings back and forth from one of us to the other as well as a wedding band for him.
We didn’t wait three weeks to think it over. We made our plans right then and there.
The first couple of years we were blessed with two daughters, Linda and Sharon. Seven years later, Melvin had his boy, Jeff.
Much too soon, they grew up, and Sharon, who could keep a hula hoop whirling forever, shed her security blanket. Linda put aside her stuffed cat with only one eye (she claimed it was a beautiful blue eye), and Jeff set aside his two stuffed rabbits, Kooky and Bugs.
There is no point in writing this story if I can’t tell it like it is, because some of the things they came up with flabbergasted me.
Things like one hot summer day when I forbid Linda and Sharon from running in and out of the house all day changing their clothes that I heard Sharon whisper, “You ask her first. You’ve known her longer than I have.”
That surprised me, but not nearly as much as when they were hugging their grandmother goodbye and I heard, “My, Mom-Mom, you have a fat head.”
It was amazing how quickly they learn.
Sharon took me by the hand, getting off the bus, and walking across the street to our house, said, “You wouldn’t want me to get killed, a cute little thing like me.” And she was a cute little thing that always referred to herself as a little star.
Jeff was a funny little fellow with a butch haircut who had two imaginary friends, Gabe and Robin Dog, that he kept with him all the time.
He called his little playmate Janet because he had a problem remembering her real name and called his sisters Bucka and Doe; Sharon was Bucka and Linda was Doe.
Like I said, he was a funny little fellow. He actually thought he was a dog named Ocie.
One night after setting his stinky sneakers outside the bedroom door, he called to me, “If you want this kiss, you better get in here and get it!”
As you know, time doesn’t stand still and before we realized it, seven wonderful grandchildren were added to our family.
Linda presented us with two lovely daughters, Emily and Brittany, as well as good-looking Dustin.
Sharon added three charming daughters, Melissa, Ashley, Meagan, and handsome Philip.
And that’s when the fun began.
Melissa’s vocabulary was astonishing. I swear she could talk before she could walk. She arranged all the egg hunts and had funerals for all the pets that passed on.
She made us all walk slowly in a row to the grave sites. Then knelt down with her head bowed over folded hands and said things like, “Now I lay my guinea pig, Pansy, down to sleep. I pray the Lord her soul to keep. Amen.”
As young as Melissa was, she was an expert at praying. She was merely 5 years old when she managed to have all heads bowed around our table at the Chesapeake Seafood House, as well as our waiter and all surrounding tables, as she prayed open mouth, blessing the Lord for every little shrimp and morsel on our plates.
You know as well as I do that there are times when kids come out with embarrassing things to say. But in a restaurant?
Ashley caused Melvin and me to choke back a laugh; almost snorted when she glanced around the room and said, “Notice that everybody here is old but me?” She looked up at the waitress who was busy taking our order and said, “Even our waitress if old.”
Linda’s daughter Emily actually caused me to excuse myself and leave a restaurant because they didn’t serve hot dogs.
Of course, my favorite story to share with you is the time we picked Sharon’s kids up at Sunday school and Meagan asked Ashley if she knew what adultery was.
Ashley, with hands on her hips, said in a pompous manner, “Meagan, don’t you know anything? That’s our father and our mother!”
It seems we were always in the car and couldn’t jump out and run.
Like the afternoon we were headed home from town and Philip announced that he had to go to the bathroom.
Sharon, knowing that the kids pulled this stuff all the time, told him to wait. “We’re almost home.”
By now, I’m sure she felt the need for duct tape when again he announced the need to go to the bathroom.
Again, she assured him that we were just around the corner.
I didn’t know if we should smile or just have stayed home when his next sentence was, “I’m pooping,” but soon we were all laughing out loud.
Linda’s kids left nothing to our imaginations. They were always wrapped up in their pets.
Dustin raised a robin that fell out of its nest. He gave it the best name he could think of, Fitsue, after his great-grandfather whose middle name was Fitsue.
Now Fitsue was an obedient little bird that sat on their shoulders and ate from the dish with their dog Raider and had no intention of ever leaving home.
After being told that Fitsue would have to adapt to the wild if he was to live a good life, they took him up on the mountain nearby, said their goodbyes and cried all the way home.
When they got back to the house, Fitsue was there eating out of the dish with their dog Raider.
Oh, they were funny. Emmy, Brittany and Dustin looked just like a miniature version of “MASH,” toting Raider home on a board when he was struck by a car in front of their house.
I guess I will always keep a diary of things the kids said when they were toddlers. Especially the things they said before they managed to get their words right.
Probably my favorite is when Dustin told the babysitter he was going to write her a “yong, yong yetter, a yetter as yong as her yeg.”
Somehow that reminds me of Emily when she was just a little tot and told me her mother went to the hospital.
Attempting to help her get her words right, I said, “You mean, the hospital?”
“No!” she said and stuck to her own version, “the hoffle.”
Now Brittany was the one who never ran out of words. She always had a story to tell. In first grade, she told something that the teacher considered very interesting and asked Brittany who taught her that.
“My brother,” Brittany boasted. “He’s in kindergarten.”
I’m not sure how to fit our great-grandchildren into this; they live away and I miss some of their remarks, like the time we were visiting and Grant jumped from behind a door to surprise his sister Sophia and I saw her swipe her skirt so stylish and grown up and said, “I just hate it when he does that!”
If there is anything I want to leave you with in writing this, it’s this: Don’t get so wrapped up in your own life that you miss the most important things — your children.
This brings to my mind our little Meagan when she asked me if I knew how you get babies.
Well, I have to say I was about to draw the line and tell her to ask her mother when quickly she added, “You pray for them!”