In light of a great white

We had a recent incident at our home. One might go so far as to call it a debacle. What my husband called it at the time is not suitable for print, but suffice it to say the story will go down in my mental annals to one day be shared with the children of the offenders around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Now however, the all too familiar antics of my four children seem far less amusing to me than the casual observer.

What shall hereafter be entitled “The Great White War of 2011”, most likely began as harmlessly as a food fight does in a middle school cafeteria. A tossed tater tot. A sporkful of ketchup…and pandemonium ensues. Alas, on this stifling summer afternoon our garage was regrettably condiment free. What we could provide our high-spirited progeny for entertainment was paint. White paint. Acrylic. Glossy. By the time the first perp sloshed his way upstairs to tattle on his older sister, leaving quick drying footprints in his wake, the trial that would befall us had..well.. befallen.The trial of the tint. The affliction of the artwork. The disaster of the driveway. I think I’ve made my point.

AND in what shall hereafter be entitled “The Great Inquisition of 2011”, the first question my long-suffering mate was able to articulate coherently was posed to our teenage daughter. “WHAT made you THINKthat would POSSIBLY be OKAY??!!”

And then she said it. The response heard ’round the world’.

You never told me not to.”

 While I restrained her father from strangling her on the spot, I reflected on the                         statement. She wasn’t wrong. We hadn’t told her not to have a paint fight in the front yard with her brothers that would result in hundreds of dollars to clean the driveway and the street as well as hours of scrubbing to remove every last trace of stray pigment that had flown in streaks and splatters, Jackson Pollock style, onto both of our cars. I had been remiss as a parent. Emphasizing far too heavily the “Do’s” rather than the “Dont’s”. Oh, the mishaps that could have been avoided.

 So, in light of my daughter’s brilliant and insightful statement, I jotted down a woefully incomplete list of 25 things I should have told the fruit of my womb NOT to do. Well. I’m telling them now:

1. It is not appropriate to eat off the floor. No, not even if you brush the hair off first.

 2. Underwear should not be worn as outerwear.

 3. Any sentence that begins with “I triple dog dare you..”, usually leads to trouble.

4. The dryer is not a ride.

5. Legos should not enter any bodily orifice.

6. Live creatures do not belong in the microwave..

7. ..nor the freezer.

8. Floating off the roof with an umbrella only works in the movies.

9. It is unwise to remove your own or each other’s braces, casts, or surgical staples.

10. Keep in mind that many people will not be as amused as you are by “Yo Mama..” jokes. Including Yo Mama.

11. You’ll shoot your eye out.

12. Coins do not digest.

13. Eating a box of crayons will not make you poop a rainbow. Please stop trying.

14. A dog will eat almost anything if it is wrapped in cheese or coated in peanut butter. This does not make it a good idea.

15. A young sibling will eat almost anything if it is wrapped in cheese or coated in peanut butter. This should also be filed away in your mental “It SEEMED like a good idea but Mom said…” folder.

16. The world is not your toilet.

17. Vertical blinds do not grow and therefore do NOT require a “trim”.

18. Neighbors frown upon dancing naked in the front yard. Accept what you consider oppression as quickly as you can. The time will come when you’ll need more than my apology and a smile to avoid trouble.

19. Because I said so.

20. Licking yourself “just like a cat does” does not equal taking a bath.

21. Suspenders will not support you hanging from household light fixtures.

22. It doesn’t particularly bother me if you taste test a bug, eat a mud pie, or sip lumpy milk. However, if projectile vomit results from from any of the aforementioned actions, you know where the Lysol is.

23. Cereal cannot be eaten for every meal. Unless it’s Count Chocula. Because that’s delicious.

24. Biting people does not win you friends…..

and last but not least my precious angel dumplings…

25. Having a paint fight in your parent’s driveway will get you grounded for a





  Sigh.  And never forget..Mommy will always love you.


About JJ's song

My freshman year of college, my English prof was fond of saying "A writer writes, always." I found him to be desperately profound until Wikipedia became a cultural staple some years later and I learned that was not an original quote, but rather one he had ripped off from that Billy Crystal movie "Throw Momma from the train." I admit this threw me. If you're going to quote a movie (and you're talking to someone whose entire household can quote "The Princess Bride" backwards and forwards), and you're not even going to credit said movie ( "HALLO! My name is Inigo Montoya.."), at least let it be a decent movie. I'm not hating on Billy. I'm just saying..not his best work. Could he not glean some inspiring gem from "When Harry met Sally"? But I digress. I love words. I love them in the nerdiest coke-bottle glasses, pocket protector kind of way. There's such a pure beauty, a ballet of cadence when you're writing and you've hit upon the exact right word producing the exact right sound...sweet, sweet alliteration. The marriage of that rise and fall, auditory ebb and flow of our spoken language creates a type of symphony as beautiful as can ever be composed. (My husband is rolling his eyes as he reads this. It should be noted here that he finds Jim Carrey hilarious. 'Nuff said.) I started writing shortly after returning to the real world from months of inpatient tratment for anorexia. I was targeting a specific audience, sure, but also working things out for myself. This branched out organically into purging myself (sorry) of angst related to childhood abuse and self harm, both highly prevalent in the eating disorder community. I still write pieces for abendingtree but rarely publish..such a perfectionist am I that when the aforementioned exact perfect word eludes me, my work will be tabled. Last January though. Last January I was raped. Last January I was raped and beaten up and tossed half naked in a stairwell. Last February I found out I was pregnant. Last September, six weeks early, we welcomed a 7lb. 7oz boy with huge blue eyes and fine, fuzzy dark hair and deep dimples. In him I see how God spared my life. With him I am reminded of when He used this tiny human to pull me from my ever darkening spiral. Watching my husband blow raspberries on his round little tummy and rock him to sleep, nuzzling his neck, I see the love Christ has for us. From our earliest beginnings. Such love. The fondness for Jim Carrey can be overlooked in these moments. Joshua. We named our son Joshua. It means: Jehovah saves. No kidding. How could we name him anything else? (Also, everyone else shot down the name Finn which I thought was super cute.) My newest blog will be our journey with him. It may be slow going, but I've got a start.. Writers lay our offerings humbly before our readers who we can only hope will be moved. Will laugh. Learn. Pray. Hurt. Wonder. Love. Grieve. Eat. LIVE. And heal. I hope at some point you'll do all of the above. Thank you for reading. In His truth. "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth
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6 Responses to In light of a great white

  1. Jason says:

    I’m sorry but the paint fight is hilarious. My brother and I got into a fight when we were younger which included antibacterial soap ending up all over the house. Luckily for my parents, it was antibacterial soap and not paint.

    • JJ's song says:

      Soap would have been MUCH cheaper. We have three boys as well as the teenage daughter and as you might be able to tell, much of the list is geared toward them. The list, incidentally, comes from true life experiences. What can you do but laugh…eventually. Also…please tell me that you and your brother grew up to be reasonably well-behaving , non-incarcerated and somewhat contributing members of society…

  2. kianys says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this – I was in dire need of a laugh today and this one served for more than just one 🙂 I will be sure to be back 🙂

    • JJ's song says:

      I’m so glad. My posts are usually fairly heavy but my life is decidedly NOT. I think I’ll have to take a dip into humor more often. Don’t we all need more laughter in our lives? 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your day!

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