Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mother's Day Revisited



Mother's Day Eve is not a very well known holiday, but I was thinking it should be made more official last Saturday on Mother's Day Eve. Son #1 had gone bowling with friends, Son #2 was watching youtube videos in his room, and Only Daughter was creating a Mother's Day novella.

Even our Malaysian houseguest had agreed to stop watching Deal or No Deal and Wheel of Fortune as they had begun to drive me nuts.(Is there a channel dedicated to these shows? They seemed to never go off the air) We rented The Commitments and he kept leaning forward and turning the volume up to figure out the English inside their thick brogues.

So he was challenged, the kids were all occupied, Maisie had had a bath and was subdued and damp in the laundry room, and the cats were all in different napping spots. It was one of those rare, calm moments in the house. I sat on the couch. I thought about doing something productive, maybe even sneaking off to write a little bit. Yes, I thought, that will be my Mother's Day present to myself: an hour or so of writing time. Before going upstairs, I decided to bring some kitchen waste out to the compost pile.

As I was coming back inside, I saw about six young girls standing on the lawn. It was around 8:30 at night. This could not be good. I went in to talk to Son #2.

He explained that their parents had gone to see a show in Atlantic City and they were all sleeping over one of the girl's houses. They were just out for a walk, he explained, but would it be okay if he walked Maisie?

Now my boys offer to walk the dog about as often as blizzards hit Kenya, so I started laughing. "No, she's good. Why don't you stay inside?"

Glaring at me since he obviously had already made plans, he slammed the door really hard after I left. About five minutes later, Emma came to get me.

It seemed Philip was locked in his room. Literally. The door would not open. I got a flat head screwdriver, and managed to slide it under the door to Philip. He got the entire doorknob off, but the deadbolt was still firmly embedded into the doorframe. But at least we had airspace and could see each other.

"MOM, DID YOU DO THIS?" he wailed, "LOCK ME IN HERE?"

"No, it must have happened when you slammed the door." Mind you, we were talking only through the circle where the doorknob had once been.

"I think I'm having a panic attack," he complained.

I looked out the hallway window. The girls were moving around under the trees like ghosts. But Philip was high up on the second floor.

Now, I could have called my husband or Googled locks to fix this problem, but I realized I had Philip, for once, exactly where I wanted him. And it was kind of a holiday.

"Breathe, honey," I told him, "Breathe in and out and you won't panic."

"But I'm hungry. And thirsty. I have to get out of this room!"

Emma got him a juice box and held the flexi-straw up to the open space. She slipped him animal crackers and granola bars. He found a much needed Pepsi bottle after drinking his third Capri Sun (life is sometimes easier for boys).

"Mom, can't you fix this?" he asked again.

"I think," I said seriously, "that you are in there until Dad gets home tomorrow morning. You have some granola bars in there, and you can just use the Pepsi bottle."

"Nooooooo," he cried, "you can't do this."

"Sorry," I said, "but this is probably the best place for you tonight."

While Emma was telling him how he was just like Rapunzel right now, I went out to the lawn and asked the girls if I could help them. They said they were just taking a walk. I stood there smiling until they left.

Then I came inside and put my eye up to the semi circle space I had to view Philip. There he was, playing the guitar, his curtains wide open. Only he could not leave and no one could come in.

It was perfect.

If only it could stay that way.

10 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Oh, that is so like a reverse fairytale or something. You mean old Mom you:) Now, has he learned anything? Like slamming doors can get you locked up?

adrienne said...

Ooh, that couldn't have been better if you'd planned it.

Christy Raedeke said...

This really must make it in to a book...it's just so good. I've come back three times to read it today and I'm still laughing.

Anne Spollen said...

Hah, Bish, I hope he learned something. I feel like teenagers think they control all the good stuff that happens, but the bad stuff is the adults' fault. He really didn't get out until the next morning, so he had plenty of time to think...

I don't think the best stuff is ever planned, Adrienne. It's like that phrase, "You can't make this stuff up." You really can't. I DO
wonder what would have happened if I hadn't discovered those girls. I would give anything to know what that plan was if he had gone out with the dog.

Glad I made you laugh, Christy. I try never to put their actual experiences into my fiction. I don't feel guilty about swiping thier expressions though. Plus, I enjoyed keeping him as my prisoner just a little too much I think. He knew it, too, so that would really be rubbing it in.

Mary Witzl said...

That is just a marvelous story, and it caused me to snort in the university library. A group of girls in headscarves are narrowing their eyes at me...

The best part is that he brought it all on himself by slamming the door in the first place. I agree with you: no need to call the locksmith on this one. What a great Mother's Day present!

Aiof Murphy said...

Very enjoyable read. You really are an amazing writer. I am reading The Shapeof Water and plan to preorder Light Beneath Ferns as soon as it's available.

Heres a question for a well published writer. Your second book is coming out. Do you ever feel guilty that there are so many folks out there dying to get their FIRST book published and you already have two?

Nora MacFarlane said...

You have the funniest family stories! And I think you are just a hair wicked...

Mary Witzl said...

I'm back here to read this and have another laugh over it.

I echo Aiof's question, but I find myself hoping the answer is No. The guilt might block you from writing more...

Anne Spollen said...

It's actually the kids who are funny, Nora. And they are really funny - only they don't see the humor in their situations at all. It's a different take on adult humor I guess.

Thanks for the encouragement, Aiof. I'm so glad you like my books!

I don't feel guilty about being published, and I am something of an expert on guilt. I DO feel awkward around friends who are struggling, especially when they are working really hard and not having any luck. I'm not sure what makes a book sellable (and if I was I would be a very, very rich woman as I could "fix" everyone's manuscript). So no, not guilty, just uncomfortable sometimes.

Nah, guilt wouldn't stop me from writing, Mary. My only real obstacle is time. I sometimes go a week without any spare time to even look at my current manuscript. That's the true obstacle, and I'm working on changing that.

Katie said...

OMG I am totally chuckling in bed!!! What a story. What. a. story.