Saturday, May 8, 2010

Etch a Sketch Heroes And Tootsie Role Models

I heard the toilet swoosh and a pint of panic washed over me. The mental picture of 2000 Flushes flooding the floor swept me into action. Dashing 'round the corner with yellow playtex hands and do-do dunger in tow, I was a water-closet warrior ready for war. 

I arrived in time to see the tip of a sock caught in the undertow of rising water. Reaching into the vortex of swirling sapphire I snatched up the hulky hosiery. It hung in my code yellow hand dripping droplets of blue bile into a toilet whirlpool twirling freely down the drain. 

I exhaled exasperation and smiled down at my pint sized progeny. "David, we don't put daddy's socks down the toilet." My latrine stuffing toddler gazed up at me, an admiring flush on his face.  To his joy and amazement I had successfully delivered a drowning sock and secured the floor from a chemical bath. In that moment frozen in time I was a motherhood hero.

But what constitutes a hero? Real heroes never think themselves to be one. You rarely hear about them. They shine in the secret shadows. Motherhood is heroic. Etching out lines and lessons is an exhausting labor of love and heroism. But, maybe the real heroes are the little, and not so little ones, that etch a sketch on a mother's life and heart. 

Etched into my body are the sketchy, stretchy lines of pregnancy that prove, contrary to medical belief, that it does not take six weeks to get back to normal after childbirth. Once you are a mother normal is history. 

Labor and delivery is not the hardest part of motherhood. Seeing your baby off for the first day of school or watching your only son pack for college delivers an etch so deep, you never forget. 

Little hero etchings come in many forms. A smidget smile can tenderize a trying day. Toddler tears etch streaks on your heart. Roly-poly giggles tickle you pink. Pudgy hugs and sticky kisses can romance away life's riddles. Smudgy fat  feet will sketch footprints on your life.

Knobby lessons and laugh lines can turn a comedy that roughs out the best of them, and years down the road the outlined memories still make you chuckle. 

  • A quart of grape juice does not make purple floor cleaner.
  • Baby sisters do not bounce back after being pushed over like a wobbly weeble.
  • A Bob Ross oil spill on ocean blue carpet will not kill baby seals but will make mom cry.
  • Christmas trees can be felled by pulling the skirt out from under them. 
  • The vet does not find it funny when you paint a Doberman Pinscher's claws hot pink.
  •  You cannot stick a Doberman to a refrigerator by feeding her magnets. 
  • Grandma's hand held casino game is called Pocket Slots not Pocket Sluts. 

To my Etch a Sketch Heroes and Tootsie role models: 
Thank you for finger painting me rainbows in life's storms and teaching me that hugs go further than tugs. You have honored me by forgiving me when I was wrong, loving me on my worst days, and showing me kindness when the world has beaten me up. You helped me to be myself, not to set unrealistic expectations, to do less correcting and more connecting, and to grow along with you. 

Sharon, Theresa, David, Rachel and Rebekah, I love you!


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