Way back in December, when I was asking you all to give me [M] suggestions for an old A 2 Z post, Ed thought mischievous would be an excellent word for me to expound upon.
Of course, anyone who reads the comment section knows he was really touching on the topic because of his own personal experience with the word, right Ed? ;)
I actually thought of writing about it, but realized my own vision of my younger, saintly self might be skewed. So, I went directly to the source. I called my mother.
Me: Mom, would you say I was ever mischievous as a child?
Mom: I can say with 100% certainty that you were whatever word is the polar opposite of mischievous.
Ahhh… vindicated once again.
Seriously, though, I was born with the Catholic guilt gene firmly in place long before anyone explained the concept to me. Or put a nun’s veil on my head for a photo op. To disappoint mom or dad was so much worse than having them be angry. Not that I would have handled them being angry that well, either. I don’t remember ever saying no to my parents. I don’t remember ever yelling at anyone in my life. Well, I’d yell for my brothers to stop if they were tickling me or dunking me under the water… but that was more out of desperation than anger. I don’t ever remember being sent to my room, and I was shocked when I stayed at my Aunt Mary’s house and my cousin was grounded… I didn’t even know that existed.
I remember being in junior high, riding the bus home with my friend Katie, and she kept trying to get me to swear… just whisper it in her ear. People, the guilt over considering it almost ate me alive. I can remember another time, clear as day, when I thought my brother Steve was trying to get me to do his chores by mowing the front lawn. So I refused. But when my other brother said Mom had told him to have me do it, I felt so bad that I sat at the table in our sun room and told my parents he had done my job for me.
Steve didn’t rat me out. I ratted out myself. And, being young, I didn’t understand the look that passed between Mom and Dad. I now know it to be a look of, “What is wrong with this child?”
But then a day of clarity came. And it about sent me through the roof.
After I was in college, the whole family was home for a holiday weekend. All five of my older siblings and a couple of my in-laws were sitting around the dining room table when stories began to be told.
Stories of my brother and sister going behind the barn to smoke cigarettes. Stories of them sneaking out to parties. Stories I certainly had no knowledge of. And stories that had my mother saying, “Stop. I don’t want to hear another thing!” Which, of course, made the stories get bigger and grander. :)
WHO WERE THESE PEOPLE?
Naive, gullible me thought that all these years I was living up to my older siblings’ examples. Come to find out, they were setting examples I knew nothing about!
[Before I go on, I’d like to clear my sister Laura’s name… she was born with the guilt gene, too. And wanted to know where in the world she was when the barn smoking was happening.]
What prompted this post, you may ask? The fact that my friend Brandi had to hang a list of off-limit words on her fridge so her boys would know what wasn’t allowed in their home. And the fact that I use most of those words on a daily basis.
Plus a few that her boys know nothing about yet.
Tonight on Twitter, after I replied to a comment saying “That’s the freakin’ story of my life,” Brandi let me off the hook for the use of my off-limit word by saying Iowa was too far away for her to use her Sassy Sauce on my tongue. And I was just a little relieved that my streak of never being grounded, sent to my room or having endured any sort of Sassy Sauce was left unbroken.
And considering I now have a history of swearing in church for all to hear, it’s a good thing the only boss of me is Riley. Because if he wants treats in his future, he’ll let my indiscretions go by unnoticed.