t.j. had a poster for spanish class that was apparently VERY IMPORTANT because he suggested that i drive him to school since his poster was so precious....and grace was delighted to join since her school was right next door.
of course. any mother worth her weight in salt would be thrilled to have a child so proud of his work! i had to respect that.
UNTIL my sweet teens began to fight over who had "shotgun"....yup! it still matters. still. when the pilgrims came over on the mayflower, after years and years, they are still doing the alternate plan....you go there and i'll take it home. only this morning, there was a dispute over who had been in "shotgun" last. yes, a discussion ensued. no big deal.
no big deal until, grace would not budge. t.j. was calling her names...loudly....back and forth...stomping. back and forth. did i say loud? I meant VERY LOUD! on our quiet street, i might call it EXTREMELY LOUD! did i mention that it was 7:00 in the morning. if i had just let them take the bus.
you would think after a minute that the games would be called off. NOPE. not with our little "donkey krauts"...that's what biff calls our variety of child....with and irish/german mix....irish/german = stubborn X 2 = VERY STUBBORN, but very cute when they're getting along...which is often...not very often since they've become teens....but, i'll settle with often. i know they'll get back....in at least 10 years or so.
i might not have minded there bickering...i was peaceful. i had the car running. i sat and waited for them to work it out....tic tic tic tic. nope. this called for intervention. i was tired...i took a breath and began. "get in the car t.j.".....NO it's my
TURN! TELL HER to get OUT!
it continued a bit longer. THEN i did it! i cracked. i used my mother's thing...i used "the clench" and "the voice"...the combo platter! i only use it in a time crunch....and when i feel that there is a chance of my children freezing in place....stubborn freeze....it started way back....when we had to pull our kids away from the mini-merry go rounds at supermarkets when i only had 1 quarter for 2 kids...usually at the most inopportune moment...when we had to be somewhere.
i like to stay calm....after all, it was only the front seat! it wasn't a trip cross country. it was just more than a mile....they've ridden their bikes.
"the clench" is a touch of locust valley lockjaw. l.v.l.j., my friend
sue used to call it. it goes like this....clench, grit and talk. like. this. would. you. GET.
in. the. CAR. NOW. with em-PHA-SIS on the last syllable...unless it is at the end of a statement...then there is em-PHA-SIS on the last 2 syllables.
they seem to recognize "the clench"...it's when i use the grit that they look puzzled...or terrified. i don't like to use it often. i don't. i don't let them rile me...if i did, i'd never "win." the mom and dad have to WIN! the whole parenting world will crumble and the kids would rule the world....we have a responsibility. to the world. and to our life.
in the middle of the "clench" and "the grit".....which took place after the big loud booming name calling began........i became aware that our neighbor, the quiet and friendly congregational minister of the church on the green......husband and father of 2 who have long been off on their own.....living in one of those quiet houses with no shoes at the door or socks or backpacks or sand from the beach.
he was out on his front lawn with his little dog....not the big friendly goldens like we have (read> fitzy, who has run through their back door at full speed, stopping in the kitchen, only to look for food, then continued through to the front door and out and back towards our kitchen....that was their welcome wagon. read> friendly like daisy who runs to say hello after rolling in a muddy puddle...and shakes her muddy water over his nicely ironed khakis)..............he was peacefully pondering his gardens when i noticed him. i was mid "clench"....i was tightly "gritting" and i had just raised my volume for effect....slow and steady, that's how i roll!
that's when "the clench" and "the grit" began. "GET IN NOW OR I WILL MAKE YOU BOTH WALK!" ......that's when i had to keep clenched and be quiet. i waited. i waited. i waited. i won.
henry ford never mentioned this.... moments after he finished his outrageous invention, he took it for a test drive......he drove home....pulled into the driveway....left the car running......called out to the family.....they all came running out to see the car........THAT's when the "shotgun" wars began....right then and there. i think it was shortly after that......he invented the ford country squire.....with the "WAY BACK"....just to avoid the "shotgun wars."