Argus Managing Editor
I passed the test! My mom said it was going to happen; that one day “your child will upset you so bad you’d think you could kill them.”
She told me this when I was pregnant. She also said that people who never admit their kid has done something wrong or has upset them are either crazy or flat out liars.
Well, the big test to see how bad I’d freak out on my own kid transpired a few weekends ago, and I passed.
I did not kill her. I did not lay a hand on her. I told her through gripped teeth, “Get in the car,” and spent the following seven-minute car drive home half crying and half praying. I looked to the heavens and thought, “Lord, I passed.”
The Sunday began well. We slept in and took our time munching on raisin toast while watching “Air Jaws” on the Discovery Channel. It was part of the channel’s week-long programming about sharks. This particular show featured the flying great white sharks of South Africa, who launch themselves out of the water to catch seals.
I knew Brady had some writing to do, so I promised to take Sophie to Beaver Creek Valley State Park for some hiking. I showered, packed snacks and found the dog collar so she, too, could enjoy the exercise.
It was pristine, late summer weather – the kind that smells like fall but that’s warm enough to wear shorts.
Pretty little orange-yellow flowers were bountiful along the stream bed and had the entire park smelling like a wedding bouquet.
We hiked the high trail and followed the creek on the low trail.
The dog jumped in the water and leapt about happy to stretch her old bones. Sophie was a chatterbox and made all kinds of observations about the nature that surrounded us.
We hiked until we were hungry and headed back to the car to get the cooler of snacks. We plopped down under a shaded picnic table and munched away enjoying the special time together.
We had enough energy for one more trip to the creek but decided to take the cooler to the car first.
Upon arrival at the driver’s side door I paused in disgust at the scratches that lie before me. The area above the driver’s side car door handle – about half the size of an 8.5×11 inch piece of paper – was all scratched up.
I must have said something out loud about it because Sophie said, “Oh, I did that.”
My head whirled around in slow motion and fast forward at the same time. I don’t even remember what I asked, but eventually she reported that she was trying to clean bird poop off my car and used what she thought was a sponge to do it.
It was sandpaper.
I called my husband on the way home and told him to meet me in the garage. We arrived and I sent Sophie to her bedroom while Brady inspected the damage.
He got right on trying to polish the smear of streaks out and even waxed the entire car that afternoon. I could tell he felt bad for me, but he also mentioned that Sophie didn’t know the extent of what she was doing.
The two of them mostly left me alone the rest of the day while I licked my wounds. It’s not like a broken heirloom that you throw away after the regrettable incident. I’m reminded of the situation almost every time I enter my car.
But, I laughed later that night when I told my mom about what happened while she tried not to laugh.
I can only hope this was, in fact, the test and not a warm up for things to come.
You can contact Emily Bialkowski at firstname.lastname@example.org