Yesterday, The Cub turned 11. Man alive. What a surprise that whole thing was! I was 38, rushin’ headlong at 40 when the stick turned pink.
I’ll never forget it. It was the Monday after Thanksgiving is what it was. Which was when the evening stars fell straight from the heavens, the earth tilted on its axis, and the planetary system realigned. School children are just now reading about it in their textbooks.
Boy, what a surprise.
There I was with a 16-1/2-year-old, an almost 13-year-old, and a 7-1/2-year-old. On a Sunday night, rocketing toward the hospital in Old Red, the egg-shaped Toyota Previa and the source of much teenage angst. (So mortified was the teenager that he could not be seen exiting The Egg at dropoffs in Panther Circle. A pair of eyebrows would crest the bottom of the window. Then, when the coast was clear; i.e., no cheerleaders or human beings with a measurable pulse, he’d hurtle toward the entrance, praying to be invisible.)
Behind me, The Three Lively Ones, pillows and blankets tucked in to await their baby brother. Beside me, the Mad Hatter–oh, wait. I mean the baby’s father Who Was Going To Get The Pregnant One To The Hospital, by cracky, gripping the steering wheel ’til his knuckles turned white. And I? Well, I was clutching the dashboard as we tore along, praying not to deliver the infant right there in the glove box.
Then, slewing sideways, we arrived at last in a hail of gravel, just avoiding the next day’s headlines. “Local mother gives birth en route to Goshen General. EMTs extricate squalling infant from glove box.”
A shocker, for sure, which turned into awwwwww…
If the boys surprised me by–well, all being boys with not a single girl in the jumpin’, wrigglin’ lot, then I believe I’ve surprised them, too. How deflating to learn that Mom has the radar of a bat. Seriously. I can hear a rustle from the floor above. “Get yer hand out of the Oreos!” I’ll call down from my office upstairs. Inches from a cookie, and…busted. That’s a sorry surprise.
It wasn’t really a surprise to learn that they’d invented a flame thrower one day with an aerosol can and a lighter. That was par for the course, a nothing-burger. But finding out that they’d actually made napalm out back while I was working? Yes, that was quite surprising. As I told their dad when that news broke, “Don’t ask me. I just work here.”
What’s surprising to me is that the FBI hasn’t hired me yet. I mean it. I’ve learned to interrogate these guys five ways from Sunday. What I know about gettin’ to the bottom line of things would make James Comey bawl. It would.
I can look at the set of the eyes, check the quirk of a lip, catch the merest flick of a glance. And know what’s going on. “I can read you like a cheap, dime-store novel.” That’s what I tell a certain Lively One. And I can.
Unraveling this whole Russia kablooie would be easy for me. Forget the independent counsel. What they need in D.C. is a mom. With experience! What will take Mr. Mueller years of subpoenas and interviews and sonorous proceedings could be cleared up and gift wrapped in a couple of days. Just pull in the principals, get Hillary, bring Donald, and I’ll get this mess sorted out.
You are welcome.
There’s a whole lot of other surprises I could write about. Marrying “John Travolta,” for instance, and being dogged by fans in Thailand. No kidding.
Like learning that there are precisely 357 ways a man can roll his eyes and communicate without saying a word. Not a word.
Like remembering that in a month, I’ll be 50. The surprise is that I actually remembered. And that, at this age, isn’t nothin’.
Who knows what surprises await in the next 50 years of my life? Just thinkin’ about it has me reachin’ for the coffee. Here we go! Cover me, peeps. I’m goin’ in.