When I think of all the years of my youth I wasted worrying about being popular, why, I could just weep.
If I had only known then what I know now: All I had to do to be wildly popular was go into a bathroom – any bathroom – and firmly close the door.
These days, that will put me in the middle of a crowd calling my name faster than you can say “private time.”
Private. Back in the day, I wrote a pithy column about mothers who wouldn’t carve out private time. I reasoned that they could do so simply by firmly shutting the bathroom door.
Nowadays, I realize I hadn’t the slightest idea what I was talking about. In fact, I was an utter idiot.
Frankly, I had no business writing about parenting with so little experience in the field. With an infant and a toddler on hand I was an intern, at best.
Yet, there I was, allowed to write as an “authority” on parenting, giving advice willy nilly (and some authority I was with a closet “biter” at home spreading terror throughout the preschool land). Honestly, I should have been shot.
Rookie mistake. Now my friend who is a mother of five – one of them all the way to 13 even – SHE has some chops. She can write anything she wants and pass it off as parenting advice. I, on the other hand, was a complete novice.
Why, I should just run this column right over to her and let HER write it – that’s what I ought to do. Of course, then she would have my job and I would be unemployed.
So, anyway, back to being popular, or was it private? Who remembers really? I don’t have time to read all the way back up there to the top of the page and figure out what I was yammering on about. Who has THAT kind of time? Private, or otherwise?
What I know is that nothing will send my family into full-alert, “mom is missing, call the dogs!” like my going somewhere, anywhere, and closing the door.
Found. Now, if I need these people – my loved ones – I can stand on the porch and scream, shout, yell and just otherwise make a complete fool of myself and nary a one will answer my call.
On the other hand, should I find myself in need of a crowd, I need only a door – bathroom, automobile, even a closet will do – and suddenly I’m enveloped in people desperate to speak to me.
My spouse, bless his heart, has been known to come banging into the house after HOURS spent outdoors simply to say “where’s mom” the moment I step into a nice hot shower.
From the other side. A brief foray into the bathroom is treated as if I’ve gone missing for days, and being held hostage – tied to the toothbrush holder perhaps – and they must communicate via messages slipped under the door.
I’ve received some of my nicest correspondence this way. Most memorably, a lovely tri-fold note on purple construction paper with a simple heart drawn on it and the words “Mommy I miss you.”
Obviously, I’m a celebrity in my own right. Much sought after. More importantly, I have proof that it’s true what they say about absence – even briefly and only in the bathroom – it does make the heart grow fonder.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is utterly lost if forced to brush her teeth alone. She welcomes comments c/o email@example.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)
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