You can’t have lived your life as a parent without being on the receiving end of any number or nature of surprises. I think part of the nine month in utero experience for babies includes some training in the art of surprising parents.
As the boys left home and returned for the holidays, the stories began to unfold as we all gathered at the dinner table. For instance, my husband had never told me about the day the neighbor came over to complain that one of our sons was calling his son some very, very bad names. Our son was mowing and venting his anger not realizing his voice was carrying through the neighbor’s window. Or how about the time I got a call from Key West to let me know our son and his friends were starting home from spring break, now that they had raised bail to get him out of jail? My husband would have told me about that if he had known!
I think one of their best kept secrets had to do with the big round spot on the wallpaper on the bulkhead of the kitchen. For years I had assumed it was left when one of them bounced a dirty basketball against the wall. Oh no…I learned, at another family gathering, it was the perfect outline of a piece of bologna that was thrown up there and stuck, probably as part of some contest. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised because it was just a few feet from the kitchen ceiling fan where the boys flung applesauce from a spoon to see what the spray pattern would be like. To this day, I don’t know which son is responsible for either event. That’s an even bigger surprise-no one ratted!
I feel fortunate. On the parent surprise meter these events hardly move the needle. We were lucky parents, indeed. Occasionally surprised, but mostly lucky.