Thursday, January 31, 2013

Potty Humor

When I was about four or five, I went to North Carolina for the first time to visit my grandmother and Grandfather.  They lived in Greenville, where you could sit on the porch swing and watch hot summer storms blow down the street with rain in sheets like it was coming out of pipes in a car washeteria.  We could walk to the corner market and buy bubble gum cigarets that blew powdered sugar smoke and eat fresh corn off the cob picked from my grandmother's back yard.  But before all that fun experience, was the rest.  We had traveled from LA to Chicago (where I saw my enormous Uncle and his equally loving and enormous wife) and then on to Raleigh and lastly an interminable ride to the two bedroom tiny family home that had at one time housed ten children and two adults, and I was beat.   Though my grandparent's home was not lacking in love, what it did lack was central air-- or even a wall unit of any kind-- and for a California kid, I was melting.  I was tired and only too happy to climb into bed-- but not to happy that it was going to be hot and sticky.  The solution-- to claim the space near the wall.  After wrestling my little sister away from the coveted place-- where the cool of the wall would provide at least a little comfort, I draped my leg over the bed, between the wall and the mattress and settled down for some welcome sleep.


The door opened, and someone peered it-- I can't remember who. was it my grandma, or grandpa-- but I remember their words as if they were saying them to me right now.

"Baby, don't put your feet behind the bed, the rats will eat your toes" 

forget the monsters under the bed that may or may not have been real-- what was real was RATS... my kindly old grandparent-- whichever one it was, would NEVER lie about them!

Over the years other things joined me under the bed.  Jaws. The Creature of the Black Lagoon, And a  Revelle model T Rex with glow in the dark teeth, claws and eyes.. (though i could put the actual model in the closet-- his spirit would haunt my under the bed) And I was ever fearful that hanging any part of my body over the bed would result in it most assuredly being eaten or snatched off without mercy.  

In fact, the fear lasted until I went away to college and was only defeated after I became a Christian and one night I turned off the lights, dashed to the bed, drew the covers up to my neck and reminded myself "I know the Creator of the universe, and there is no reason to be afraid." and at that, the rats, shark, creature and Dinosaur vanished in a puff of faith. 

I have often heard parents make the statement that they are giving their child something about which they can talk to their therapist, when they make some parental executive decision-- as if being a human parent was going to be the child's later adult neurosis... but in thinking about what became my demon from childhood-- an idle phrase of love and protection combined with my overactive imagination was my undoing-- NOT my grandparents.

so-- yeah, to my friends who are parents-- you may give your child things to discuss with their counselors in later life-- but it may not be because of what you think, so my advice to you (having no kids of my own)  lighten up on yourselves,  and don't second guess so much.  Just make all of your choices in love like my grand parents did-- and let God sort out and heal the missteps. if your family  life is characterized by care and warmth, even though there be rats under the bed, they will remember you when you're long gone with joy and a smile. (the way my grandparents are forever cemented in my mind)

Besides, who knows-- your child may not go to a therapist after all... they may start a blog.

My friend Julie posted on her wall about her child "I don't want to get on the potty train!!!!!!!!"  and I thought it was hilarious.  When I mentioned it to her she said that she had told her daughter that they were going to start potty training and that were her child's response... Who knows how long it will take THAT to get undone-- but then again, it always comes back to the potty now doesn't it?

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