It’s true that the older you get, the more you become set in your ways. This became clear to me when I went to visit my in-laws.
My in-laws are the some of the best people I know. No stereotype conflicts, no hassles, just good spirited people. After living in New York City for most of their lives, they built a house in the mountains and have been there ever since. Life was slower, there weren’t too many people around and it was deathly quiet compared to the constant noise of the city. My wife and I met in a mountainous college town and ever since then, she’s always enjoyed being in that type of environment as well. Deer and wild turkeys were no strangers to crossing through their yard.
As we get older, we create a certain rhythm to our lives. Call it a habit or just a “way of doing things.” At the time, my kids were fourteen, seven and five. Two boys and my baby girl.
The middle child is the precocious one. Always fiddling around and never staying in one spot. As he was proceeding upstairs, without a care in the world, my mother-in-law stepped out of the bathroom, just completing her morning shower, with a towel wrapped around her waist. Yeah, just the towel. I guess when you’re so used to doing something a certain way, you just take if for granted. She probably thought the kids would be asleep, but kids and old folks wake up early. It’s us still working for that dollar that want to sleep late on the weekends.
The timing must have been perfect because I heard my son scream in, what I thought, was agony. By the time I caught up with him, he was in the kitchen, crying his eyes out.
I asked him, “Are you alright?” I couldn’t see anything physical. No blood, no bumps, no bruises, but he’s a kid, it could have been anything.
He shook his head, “No,” but wouldn’t stop crying.
I got down to his level, “What’s wrong?”
He just looked up and cried louder.
“It’s ok.” I said.
“No, it’s not,” he said through a now snotting nose.
I told him to relax and his whole body shook in a convulsion.
Finally, I demanded, “What is wrong?”
He looked me deep in the eye and said, “I saw Grandma.”
“Huh?” I had no idea what he was talking about. Maybe she died. I started to get scared myself, but I had to make sure. “What do you mean?”
Finally he lowered his voice, moved closer and said, “I saaaawww Grandma.” But he’s gesturing with his hands like he’s bouncing a couple of tomatoes.
I couldn’t help it, I asked again, “What do you mean?”
“I saw Grandma’s bubbies.”
Bubbies is the household name for breasts in my family and when he realization of what occurred became clear, it took every ounce of strength that I had, not to laugh in my son’s devastated face.
“It’s ok.” I assured him.
He shook his head, “NO, it’s not.”
“It’ll be ok, really.”
He became more adamant “No, dad. It won’t. Ever.”
“You’ll be alright. I’m sure she’s not mad.”
“You don’t get it, dad.”
“I do. I understand. It was an accident.”
“It’s not that dad.”
“Then what is it?”
My son took a quick look around to make sure no one else was listening. “They looked like they were bungee jumping off her chest!”
That’s when I lost it.
Greatest kid story ever.