Storytime or Dodgeball?

The chicks are back in the nest and all is right with the world.

If your world turns like a daytime soap opera.

I’m still trying to process all of the things that were thrown at me last night.  They come home, pet the dog, check out every nook and cranny of the house, saying things like “Ooh, cool door handle things in the bathroom,” and then without warning, they start to vomit stories.

I wasn’t expecting them home as early as they got there (considering the long journey), so two of my friends were still at my house, happily munching on Pei Wei to help me pass the time when the boys arrived home.  They got to witness Story Time.

Story Time at my house is like a heated game of dodge-ball.  The boys throw balls (stories) at me and I try to either deflect them or catch them.  It all happens in a whirlwind.  I have to be on my toes and ready. I don’t get time to craft responses.  Everything is off the cuff (which provides me hours of lament later on).

The first story was about the visit from the Constable.  They were home alone, while their dad was at work, so they called him on the phone, and handed the phone to the Constable.  When the Constable was done on the phone, he knocked on the door and returned the phone.  “Why do you think he was there, Mom?”

Many parents subscribe to many different theories on raising children.  I have no idea what theory I subscribe to, but I know that no matter how much I want to shelter my children the way that I was sheltered as a child, I don’t have that option.  My kids are no strangers to experiences with their father and members of law enforcement.  They are old enough to know that Constables don’t make house calls for no apparent reason.

I folded my hands and set my elbows at the table, and my youngest son said, “Wait, let me guess, he lost the house and the cop came to tell him, and now he is going to move into his girlfriend’s house.”

If you are like my friends, you might be sitting there with your mouth agape.  Yes, he is a very intuitive child.  My friend said, “Wow. How did you figure that out?”

“Well, first the guy came to the house, then he didn’t pick us up from the beach, then he took us to Grandma’s house in the middle of the night.  Now Dad is supposed to be getting my x-box games from his ‘house’ but he’s been gone a while, and he doesn’t live that far, and just now the way Mom put her hands on the table and said ‘Well…’  It wasn’t hard.”

Before we could recover from THAT announcement, he launched into another story.  “Dad told us that [we’ll call her GiGi, his step-mother] killed PawPaw.  He said that PawPaw was alive when he and his uncle were still there at the hospital, and he thinks she put a pillow over his face after they left.”

Yeah, dodge THAT ball, why don’t you?

It wasn’t long after that story that my friends held up the white flag of surrender and left to retrieve their children or clean their toilets or whatever they could do to get the heck out of there.  I don’t blame them.  We’re old and we aren’t really equipped for such a rigorous game of dodge ball.

After they left, I did some damage control.  I pulled out the big guns and, once again, discussed alcoholism and addictive behaviors and distorted realities.  And then I spent a few hours obsessing about what I said or didn’t say, what I should have said or what I shouldn’t have said.

I might have texted my friends a few hundred times for reassurance.  I’m guessing that I did because today, one friend emailed me a link to a blog post, The elephant is not invisible.

It perfectly describes what my children are experiencing – the fear, the anxiety, the shame.  It gives me some peace of mind for being honest with them.

I am so very grateful for that post at such a crucial time, and I am so very grateful that my children are home.  Back in the nest under my protective wings.


  1. So glad the kids are home safe and sound with you…

  2. I know they are happy to be home!

  3. I’m glad they are back home, and are safe, even if the road to get there is bumpy, to say the least. I really get what you mean about those stunning hits. Kids get so much more than we know or want to admit. But I’m convinced that being honest about things they question is the best way to go.

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