You know how some moments in time pack such a punch that they remain with you long after most memories take flight? For me, there was that time when I was five and was picking my nose and apparently enjoying the fruit of my labors when my Uncle LeRoy caught me and started running through the house yelling, "Danielle doesn't need dessert! Danielle doesn't need dessert! She's already had her boogers!" Actually, come to think of it, Uncle LeRoy did a lot of things that lodged themselves into my long-term memory like telling me that if I play with my belly button it will "come undone" and all my air will come out. I had the World's Dirtiest Belly Button for years. And my first fart joke. (What planet do they come from? Uranus. *confused look from the 5-year old* even after repeated pleas of "Get it? GET IT?!)
Once when I was about four, my mom made oatmeal for me. That was bad enough but when I looked in my bowl there were little bugs. I complain that I don't want to eat it and she says I have to eat it. I go back and stare at my bowl with bugs in it and decide to go tell her that there are bugs in my oatmeal. She tells me that they aren't bugs, they are spices. Once more I go look in my bowl and this time, knowing I'm treading on thin ice I approach her again and say, "Mommy? Do spices have legs?" Haha!! Do spices have legs? It turns out that spices do NOT in fact have legs and I received my 89th apology from my mother for that incident just last week as a matter of fact. I told her I'm still thinking about it.
I did however, forgive her for hiding my Easter basket behind the couch one year. The couch that backed up to the big window that faced East. That was the year we weren't allowed to look for our baskets until AFTER church. Somewhere out there is a picture with a pathetic looking me trying to smile for the camera and holding a basket full of melted bunny.
Ah memory lane....
Once when I was five or six, mom let me bake cupcakes with her and I really wanted to put them in the oven myself. After the huge process (huge when you are little and can't wait to eat a cupcake) we opened the oven and I went to put them in and as I got closer I freaked out with the heat and totally flipped the pan upside down on the hot oven door. As an adult, I don't know who to feel more sorry for. It was a pretty pathetic moment for me but my poor mother had to clean the whole oven and make a new batch of cupcakes while undoubtedly listening to wails.
I will never forget when I was twelve and trying very hard to be sophisticated but struggling with the simple act of walking having grown to my adult height of 5'10". Yes. At twelve. What you need to know at the outset of this story is that we went to a small-ish church where everyone knows everyone and especially me and my family as we were very active and my brother and I were the only kids who were faithfully there every week. Also, my family always sat in the front row. Our names might as well have been on the pew. Oh, and on this particular morning, both my mom and dad were singing in the choir so they are in their robes, facing the congregation.
I am late coming into the service and everyone is standing and singing. I am going down the middle aisle and I can hear the song is just about to end and I don't want everyone to sit and there I will be walking down the aisle for everyone to stare at. I'm twelve and that would be humiliating. So just as the song ends and everyone takes their seats I decide to run the rest of the way and at that moment.... that moment when it is silent and everyone has sat down.... at the worst possible moment imaginable... as my 5'10", 100 pound frame is gangling down the aisle at a light sprint... THAT is when my purse strap catches on a pew back.
My legs kept going. The rest of me didn't.
As I'm laying there flat on my back having just fallen (literally) short of my front row seat and my parents are in the choir loft facepalming themselves and the entire congregation is trying unsuccessfully not to laugh at me I remember very distinctly praying like never before that I believe... I BELIEVE in the rapture and Please God Let It Happen. Now.
I don't know how much these little memories shape who I am but these and moments like them... good stuff too... will probably be all that's left if I one day end up with Alzheimer's. I always wonder what little snippets in time will stick with my children when they leave childhood behind. There are many things I am very intentional about in the hopes that when they look back they will say, "THIS was what my childhood was about", but I know that there will be other moments that are so unexpectedly absurd that they will sheepishly recall in a couple years and be able to laugh at in about thirty. I think one of those moments may have just happened to Rachael tonight.
We went to a baseball game which is always a great experience. They really make it fun for the kids and the weather was hot but it was so nice to be outside enjoying America's favorite past-time as a family. The kids were sharing a bag of peanuts and that's a good time because you can just throw the shells on the ground and what kid doesn't dig sanctioned littering? We went with some friends and the grown-ups were sitting behind the kids and suddenly I see Rachael launch a peanut... not the shell... the whole peanut and this thing FLIES out and hits this guy right in the head! There weren't that many people around us but boy if she didn't have perfect aim. He looks around and I can tell he's not thrilled. I said, "I am SO SORRY (he's now looking incredulous that a woman did this) but my daughter threw that nut!" He immediately softened but I made Rachael get up and go over to apologize. To her credit, she did right away and he said, "Okay, but don't do it again," and she came back to her seat and lost it.
It took all I had to not laugh because even though she was probably more embarrassed than she has ever been in her life I know she probably just made one of those weird, small, random permanent memories and one day she will be sitting there with her kids eating peanuts and it will hit her: "I totally nailed that guy in the head."
And then she will laugh too.
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