Spring Break, Wilson style…
Last week, I was forced to sit through the opening night of “Allegiant,” a tweener dystopian film, at the special request of the birthday girl. Of course, I obliged. Because that's what good parents do.
It was during this unfortunate event that I received the following text from my brother: “I think your kids ripped my convertible top.”
I sighed, exasperated, but not surprised, by their skullduggery.
This was not an isolated event.
This climactic destruction followed a string of incidents I have affectionately dubbed “Spring Breaks.”
It's been like a horror show down here, folks.
Instead of breathtaking beach views or snow-capped skiing, our spring break was full of springs and breaks.
I'll warn you, my tale will exhaust you. So grab a glass of wine, settle into a comfy chair, and join me in our miscreant adventures.
First, I will happily shift blame to Uncle Walter, the self-same owner of the nowscarred but no less kenspeckled sports car. He helped two pre-teen boys build a ladder. Nothing good can come from that.
The proud new owners of the crafted ladder leaned it upon a shed and gleefully accessed the roof, from the pinnacle of which, they spied a trampoline.
If this mother had spy drones, she could have stopped the upcoming idiocy. But as she operates her parenting mission on low-tech observation called eyeballs, the boys foolishly followed their appetite for high-flying adventure.
But the aged trampoline (“Old enough to drink,” Uncle Walter declared), crumpled under the ill-advised physics of a fifth-grader.
The children survived unscathed. The trampoline needed only minor repairs, according to the boys, who then set to work duct-taping the broken pipes and replacing the sprung springs.
DUCT TAPE, people. On a trampoline!
Neighbor Boy attempted to persuade me that the repairs would suffice. Since the sophrosyne of my college degree trumps his eighth month of fifth grade, the trampoline has been removed from the property.
Second, I will absorb some of the blame myself, in the form of an apparently genetic accident- prone predisposition.
Eldest Daughter acquired every bit of my DNA, right down to the squirrelly proprioception, or as it is known in Arkansas, dadgum clumsiness. The child chipped her front permanent incisor last summer on the bottom of the pool, which in itself is a story, but it resulted in a weak bond and requires preferential and thoughtful treatment.
But when a tight knot on a rope swing needed loosening during Spring Breaks, the daunting task before her apparently wiped her memory.
So my daughter, who is every bit my child, approached me in tears, regretting the foolish act nearly the moment she bit into that knot and dislodged the bonded chip. She looked like a hockey player.
I whisked her away to the nearest dentist, but with a mere fifteen minutes 'til closing time, my daughter was doomed to suffer all evening with a gaping maw marring her mouth.
The same sweet daughter, whose heart is helpful but
“The Marion Mom” By Dorothy Wilson whose sprawling limbs forge their own path, was later tasked with changing a light bulb in a fixture attached to the nine-foot ceiling. Knowing her clumsy tendencies, I walked her through the process, emphasizing the importance of using both hands to lower the glass bowl encompassing the bulbs.
To my great relief and her great delight, she successfully removed the bowl, and with forethought, placed it gently in a soft mound of dirty clothes for further protection.
However, the actual unscrewing of the bulb stumped her. I quickly surveyed the situation and suggested she just wait for her (tall) father to finish the job when he returned home from work.
I should have known.
Somehow, the glass shade ended up teetering precariously on the edge of the tile bathtub and falling to its demise, smashed to smithereens, a victim of wild gesticulations and excited flailing.
The bulb has still not been changed.
The rest of the week followed suit, with my discovering two shattered windows, a broken crystal-handled cake knife, and a shattered glass reading lamp, the shards of which are still spread haplessly across the girls' bed. No wonder they've been sleeping on the floor.
I also discovered innocent spray-paint graffiti across the garage floor. The perpetrator, however, had written his name in cursive. I don't think he has a career in criminal mastermindery.
Likewise, the child who blamed lightning for the destruction of an outdoor bench has only a slightly better chance as a career criminal. I've been mere yards from a lightning strike before, and I certainly would remember the terrifying crack of the strike in my backyard powerful enough to reduce a sturdy park bench to a pile of splintered oak and cracked iron.
I wasn't born yesterday, kid.
I know what a sledgehammer plus testosterone looks like.
Which brings us to the car.
With the outdoor playthings dropping like flies in a fogger, I suppose the boys saw the petite-framed Spyder as a new toy. In their defense, it does look like a hot-wheel up next to our giant people mover.
The two-seater provided the perfect set-up for tantalization. Two boys climbed in the unlocked car, locked out intruders, and began fiddling.
The third boy, irritated at his exclusion, proceeded to clamber atop the vehicle.
And jump. Repeatedly.
Like a Zombie movie.
“If you don't let me in, I'll keep jumping!” he reportedly, hollered.
They let him in. But only because they heard the rip and foresaw the trouble if they hung around. So they unlocked the doors and zipped away, living again to destroy another day.
Except they were caught. Eldest Son refused to understand the vast expense of his vandalism. “Can't you just fix it with duct tape?” he asked in all seriousness.
They were grounded.
They were tasked with terrible, tedious, burdensome, disgusting housework as recompense and atonement.
So we transition from Spring Breaks to Spring Cleaning and Remuneration.
No duct tape allowed.
Dorothy Wilson lives in Marion with her husband Chris as they enjoy all the adventures their six children provide… well, “ enjoy” might be a strong word this past week.