My hands cover my face. I can’t bear to look. I can hear the screaming. I know that if I take my hands away from my face whatever I see will not be as bad as what I imagine. I am not one who likes blood and guts. All, I can think is, is it over yet? Summer vacation that is.
Oh, course, the boys are fine. The blood curdling screams were not because one of them was hurt. There is no blood, no guts. They are not sprawled out on the floor, bones protruding from the skin, blood coming from the mouth as I had imagined. Instead, they are sitting on the bed. The pillows, sheets, stuffed animals scattered everywhere.
“I told that would get her up here.” Aaron says to Nic. I, as my husband would say, have apparently fallen below the 100% full attention to the boys expectation.
My heart is still pounding in my chest from the certainty that I was walking in on an ambulance call worthy injury. Now, thinking that I am the one who may need that ride, I turn and walk away. I will not even give Aaron the satisfaction of a scolding.
You see, I had been doing laundry. Blissfully lost in the sounds of running water and the tumbling clothes. The laundry room is separated from the rest of the house by two doors, a small entry way and the whirring sounds of machines. In the summer, it is my favorite room in the house – even with no air conditioning and 92 degree temps outside. It is the only room that drowns out everything else. Since I was doing laundry, the pounding and crashing of re-enacting videos from American’s Funniest Home Videos had not drawn my attention. That is until, I came back into the house and heard the blood curdling screams.
This is not an unfamilar scenario in my house. In fact, it is probably the third time we have played through this scenario today. First, I feel the fear. Something must really be wrong, that sounded like an actual scream. Then, I feel the guilt. After all, if I had been with them instead of doing whatever I was doing, I could have stopped the injury before it happened. Next comes the relief that no one is actually hurt because with every scream I am convinced that this time it’s going to be bad. Finally, I am filled with frustration and anger. How many times a day can we repeat this? When are you going back to school? WHY ISN’T SUMMER VACATION OVER YET?
Sure, I could ignore them when they scream. That might solve the problem. But, what if the one time I don’t respond, because I am trying to teach them a lesson, is the one time it’s real. I know, I know. What are the odds? In my case, pretty good. I’m not a very lucky person. It would be just my luck that the one time I don’t respond, one of the boys will be laying in the yard with a limb torn off – or the limb of a tree on top of him.
There I’ll be. In the house, sipping my coffee, humming loudly to drown out the screams. I’ll be thinking to myself, “They are not going to get me this time. I am not going to fall for it.” When the neighbors start running into the yard, I’ll be embarrassed. “I can’t believe they are so desperate to get my attention that they are calling the neighbors.” When I hear the sirens for the ambulance and police, I will run outside thinking I better put a stop to this. “Seriously, officers, they are just trying to get my attention.”
Then, I will see them laying injured on the lawn, crying, “We kept calling for our mom but she wouldn’t come.” The neighbors will look at me with scorn. The paramedics will shake their heads. As the police put me in handcuffs to take me away, I will be shouting, “I was only trying to teach them a lesson. Really, I’m a good mom.”
And, Aaron will look at Nic and say “I told you that would get her out here.”
So, I think I’ll hedge my bets on having a heart attack. I will keep running to them when they scream and keep waiting for it to be over. Summer vacation, that is.