Long, Long Ago

One day, a long, long time ago, when Younger was six or seven, maybe eight, he came in from school and tossed his coat on the floor of the laundry room.

“Younger,” I chided. “Put your coat on the hook. I just washed it. One of these days, when you are doing your own laundry, you’ll be more careful not to dirty it.”

And my innocent, little, blonde haired boy looked at me in defiance and announced, “I won’t either. I’m going to get married, and I’ll have someone to do my laundry, just like Daddy.”

I know. I gasped, too. Repeatedly. While  my husband sat very, very still on the sofa, hoping I would overlook his very existence for a moment or two. Or maybe an hour or two. Or maybe days.

“Oh, oh,” I managed to finally exhale. “You want someone to pick up after you, do you? I’ll pick up after you, all right. In fact, I’m picking up everything you own.”

And I did. All his toys went into trash bags, while he followed me, sobbing, “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

At some point, the red haze cleared. And I realized every toy I had shoved into trash bags would eventually have to be returned to the rightful place. Which meant more work for me. But I was still surrounded by a film of pink, so I still took the toys. I just took drawers, rather than pouring them into black bags.

For those of you who are worried about Younger, I relented pretty quickly. Kind of. He got some of his toys back within an hour of so. After the coat was in position on the rack. Some others stayed stacked within plain sight but designated off limits. For a day or two.

For those of you who are still worried about Younger, well, in recent years, I have, too, considered that I might have overreacted.

So, I asked Younger the other day, if he remembered the coat incident.

He did not.

“Oh,” I breathed in relief. “Because I took all your toys from you, and I thought maybe I should address any lasting effect that might have had on you. And, you know, apologize if I overreacted. A bit.”

Younger’s eyes rounded, his eyebrows climbing towards his hairline. “That’s why you took all my toys? I remember that.” He shook his head. “I thought I must have killed a small, furry animal.”

I laughed. “Ummm, no, no killing of furry animals.”

He pointed towards the wall in our living room. “You stacked the drawers right there.”

“Yes, uh-huh, I did do that.”

“You took all my toys!”

“Well, no, not all your toys. But, yeah, most of them. For a day. Or two.”

“And I didn’t kill a small, furry animal?”

“You smarted off. And you knew you were smarting off.”

“You took all my toys.”

“Well, you never again told me you’d find someone to pick up after you like your dad.”

His eyes grew even larger. “And I remember Dad telling me I got him into trouble!”

Yes, well, his father couldn’t disappear into thin air despite his best attempt. But he’s fine. Now, anyway.

Childhood memories .  . .

No wonder we all just wanted to grow up.

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