Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Who's Birthday? No, It's Wendy's!

Especially for the N.C. gang. Because today is Wendy's birthday (Happy Birthday to one of our very favorite folks!) and because “that Vernon guy; he’s funny!” (Son of humorist to his mother, who is essentially liver mush in the great buffet of life.)

Did Somebody Say Shark Week?

Last summer we vacationed at a beach house with two other families. Vacation is an old English word meaning “No, you can’t bring the jellyfish home. Because he wants to stay with his Mommy jellyfish in the ocean, that's why.”

The rooms were awash with the sights and sounds of breaking waves, sparkling sunshine, and the pitter patter of assorted feet as folks stomped about searching for sandals, swimming suits, and suntan lotion. To some people any space that is filled with sibling rivalry and random whining might be unsettling. Add kids to the mix and it can be daunting.

To me it felt like home.

I come from a family with four children, which in kid math, what with adding a Little League team, several random Girl Scouts, and carrying a neighbor’s kid, equals 642 youngsters fighting over the last Kool Pop. The children in the neighborhood where I grew up traveled in hordes, like fire ants, but with Barbies and GI Joes, tunneling through various living rooms in search of something to do. I never saw a house with empty rooms until I married twenty years later. Then I went from room to room searching.

Where have all the people gone?

So Memorial Day last year saw me up to my baggy eyes and borrowed bathing suit in little people who still think the day begins while the sky is dark and who consider the fast lane in life a bicycle path. Toss in my two guys, who will remain teenagers as long as the punchline holds out, and who could sleep six days straight without draining their Black Ops health points, and you come up with a cross between Dr. Who and reality TV: Survivor: Time Warp Narcolepsy.

When it comes right down to it and the Special K Red Berries hit the bowl, the scene at the beach house could be a present day kid invasion or a scene from 40 pre-pixel years ago when I would be awake before the dew reached the saturation point and Mom gave up hoping I would ever sleep through the night. (Imagine my surprise when I discovered years later, after the first screaming bundle of No-Doze came along, that 9PM was the new midnight.)

After a few mornings when the kids rose an hour before the sun, I found I could nap with my face in a bowl of cereal that stayed crunchy even in milk, propped up on the couch watching exciting animated adventures, or reclining in a tidal pool at the shore (Wendy, that’s us!) surrounded by tiny fishes who have no appreciation for personal space.

Turns out that napping is my superpower. So I had a wonderful vacation and discovered my superhuman strength all at once. James Bond can have his fancy gadgets; I can sleep when the tide comes in and I’m up to my neck in sand dollars and seaweed. So bring on the sunrise; I'm a kid again.

Because James Bond had one thing right. You only live twice.


Nancy said...

"Turns out that napping is my superpower." Love that!

Amy Mullis said...

And you don't have to have a special uniform. Tights give me wedgies.

Lisa said...

The description of the neighborhood kids you grew up with being like a horde of fire ants was SO true - at least what I remember. Great column!

Amy Mullis said...

Yep, except fire ants are less destructive!