Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Sacrificial Jeans

*In the late summer of 1990, our little family was the family from the song "Front Porch Looking In" by Lonestar. We lived in a little house out in the country with farm land all around us. I loved that little house and sometimes miss those times when we were young and I was an idealistic mom who gardened, canned, hung my clothes on the line to dry, and even sewed! There was something sweet about that time in our lives. It was before all the crud I would go through later that made me basically miss my younger children growing up, much less do all those idealistic, craftsy, homey things I did back then. This story is mostly for me. I want to begin to write out the stories in my head because I am realizing that I am forgetting them. There was a long period of "insanity" (because for all intents and purposes, the things I did really were insane) that took place in my life between that innocent time and the present that has robbed me of many of my stories. It's time to stop procrastinating.*

I had just come home from Wal-Mart and put the bags on my bed. I pulled out the new pair of jeans I had bought for my husband and laid them on the bed so he would see them. Then grabbing the new boxes of dishwasher and laundry detergent, I headed into the other room to put them away.

My oldest daughter, Megan was 5 at the time and had rushed into the living room to watch Sesame Street. Russell, my barely-2-year-old, had occupied himself in front of the tv as well. He would often occupy himself beside his sister as she watched tv even though he wasn't the least bit interested. I took the opportunity of having them settled to start another load of laundry and bring the clothes from the line in.

Everything was quiet except for the sound of the TV and the birds singing outside the open dining room window. I was enjoying being able to fold clothes in peace without having Russell grab things while loudly declaring, "I elp". He would pretend to fold and then drop whatever he had "folded" in the floor to grab another item...or three. I was sitting by the window, humming, folding the clothes on the dining room table, while occasionally staring blissfully at the sunny field outside my window. Daydreaming really. I know. There is no excuse for that!

Somewhere, out of this fog, I realized that an awful lot of time had passed for a two-year-old to be quiet. I walked into the family room to find Megan, still staring blankly at Sesame Street and no Russell. "Where's your brother?" I asked tentatively. Without even looking up from the tv, Megan gave the standard "I dunno".

Now our house was too small for anything to have happened to him without my hearing it, but Russell DID have a penchant for quietly taking things apart. From the time he was old enough to crawl, his father's large collection of Christian tapes were his favorite targets. I can't tell you how many times we found him sitting in piles of unspooled tape getting ready to pull out another long section. We started putting the tapes in cases that locked and any that didn't fit, we kept on top of the stereo. It wasn't long before Russell learned to stack the cases, climb on them, pull himself up and get the unprotected tapes and this was all before he could walk. For some reason he was absolutely enthralled with the ribbon of tape. (See the pictures below)

I was headed down the hall to peek into the rooms to see where he was, when I heard him. He was in my room. When I stepped through the doorway, my jaw hit the floor and I just stood there with my mind trying to wrap around the scene before me.

Having found the Elmer's glue I had just bought, there he was on my bed. My little red-head was bouncing around in circles chanting "uuhuuhuuhuuh" with each bounce. He bounced one complete circle and stopped. Then he squeezed a long stream of glue onto the brand new jeans.

He caught sight of me, in my shocked state, in the doorway In an instant, he was off the bed, past me, and out the doorway, wearing an absolutely felonious grin. There lay my husband's new jeans-sacrificed on the alter of childhood.

*note* This is now known as the "Uuhuuhuuhuuh, Squiiiiirt" story around my house. It is my kids favorite one to tell and hear. The younger ones tell it like they were actually there and they weren't even born yet. "Sweet, little, innocent", redhead, Russell has been the source of MANY such stories. And every one contains the same felonious grin. It has never mattered much that Russell wasn't a bad kid, (Frustrating and mischievious, yes! Bad, no!) it was just that no matter WHAT he did, he always got CAUGHT! (everyone remembers the redhead, whether he was actually in on the act or not, if he was there, he was always pegged as the guilty one and the fact that he had a tendency to want to find out what would happen if he did ____fill in the blank___ didn't help) Oh yeah, Russell is now 17 and is still giving me stories like this to tell. In fact one of the reasons I'm telling this one and the next few, is to lead up to a more recent one that I want to tell. The pictures are of Russell getting caught about to pull tape and Russell standing on the tape cases. Notice the chin in the second picture!!!! Yes, he was a faaaaaat baby. He was about the same age as the second picture when the story above took place.
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