I would have never made it this far without my parents.
Most people would agree that good ol’ ma-n-pops did their fair share in helping their kids stand on their own two feet. They forgave you for their beautiful anniversary vase you broke and the car you demolished when you were 17 years old. They supported your decisions when you seemed to know what was best, and helped you when you didn’t know left from right – whether literal or figuratively.
Even when you missed the bus as a teenager and requested to be dropped off a block away from school, they were still there to be sure you had what you needed. From sixth grade through graduation, they chased around the surrounding counties to watch your sporting events, and no matter how terrible your team was, told you how great you did.
No doubt the life lessons they taught you molded you into the person you are today. You may hate to admit it, but many of their habits and mannerisms became yours.
Many of us are lucky to have healthy relationships with our parents. It’s odd how well some of the relationships work out between kids and their folks considering the majority of your childhood is based on lies, and I’m not just talking about bunnies, clauses and fairies.
Thinking back, there was a time when my parents fed me more lies than vegetables, and Lord knows those lima beans were on the table often. In fact, vegetables were the root of many of their lies.
Certainly every kid was under the impression that rabbits don’t wear glasses because they eat so many carrots. And unless you wanted to wear glasses, you better eat your carrots. They also said that any gum you swallowed would either stay in your throat for seven years, or fuse your insides together. Even scarier than a massive wad of gum caught in the back of your throat was imagining a watermelon growing in your stomach, which would happen if you were unlucky enough to swallow a watermelon seed.
Still, a watermelon growing in your stomach might be easier to conceal than the face you were making behind your sister’s back. For, if like Mom and Dad said, your dorky-looking face was permanently frozen, you might very well lose any and all friends you ever had the chance of knowing. The same went for crossing your eyes and picking your nose. By crossing your eyes, you ran the risk of being cross-eyed forever, and having your pointer finger stuck up your nose wouldn’t be very glamorous either.
The lies only got worse. Mom and Dad really put you in a tough spot when they promised that you “won’t get into trouble if you tell the truth.” You knew better. If you didn’t get in trouble with them, you would with the brother that you were telling on, and getting a noogie from him was just as bad as getting spanked by Dad.
Not that they cared anything about your pain. They’d threaten that if you got hurt, they wouldn’t take you to the doctor. Some of the more painful times were preceded with a promise from my dad. “This will only hurt a little bit,” he’d say as he grabbed my loose tooth and started wrenching. He said the same thing the time he tore off a band-aid so fast I needed a new band-aid for the second-degree burn he had created from ripping off the band-aid like a super hero.
But even when in pain, we were taught not to pout. “Don’t pout or a bird might fly by and poop on your lip.” Gross. Just imagining the stream of white goo landing on your lip, your teeth a backdrop, was enough to make you buck up and take it like a big kid.
Another root of many lies was the television. You’d go blind if you sat too close, and of course, if you watched too much, you’d amount to nothing in your life. They lied about what really happened to Rover, and all along you were naive enough to believe he had gone to live on the farm with the old couple. ?They also instilled a fear of jumping back into the lake within two hours of eating a peanut.
I suppose it’s a two-way street. Kids lie to their parents too, although kids are a little more transparent and parents are pros at detecting lies and judging character. In fact, they probably one-upped you on more than one occasion when they made you believe that they believed your lies.
Shootin’ the Wit is a weekly column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.