From experience I can tell you that when you are about 7 and you have to admit to your parents that it was you who cut the rubber gasket that goes around the top of the tub styled dishwasher, with a knife every time you unloaded the dishwasher, just because it sliced so smoothly and it was kind of fun, admittance is pretty traumatic. That was many moons ago but there is still a flutter inside me. To get to the truth mom lined all three of her angel-like children up, side by side in the kitchen while she and dad ate dinner. We stood there until we broke, one at a time like water balloons that just kept getting fuller and fuller until they popped and spilled their insides all over the ground in front of her. First my brother admitted it. Well I knew he didn’t do it. But he was excused from the line up and got his dinner. Then seeing that he wasn’t going to be beheaded my sister admitted to the deed and she was freed to eat. Well guess who that left? Yes, the cheese stands alone! Me. I was alone and I can tell you that standing there, knowing I was guilty was, as I look at it now, was a very humbling experience. But finally the words came forth in a barely audible whisper, “I did it.”
There was no punishment that could ever come close to the shame I felt that evening. I was eventually given my sentencing. I would have to pay the repair man from my $1.00 a week allowance for coming out and replacing the gasket. That took forever! He even made mention to me as he was working that maybe I should come over and have to do the dishes at his house for a month to pay for my dastardly deed. I do believe he and my mother were in cahoots. Yes cahoots! Let’ go there…
Cahoots is a state of collaboration that adults, most often parents are allowed to enter into in order to ferret out information from unsuspecting children. It is a well-known device that can be pulled from the parental bag of tricks at anytime, anywhere and under any circumstance. For instance, a group of women that I was part of, once began talking about childhood indiscretions. Nothing bad, no ‘punishable by law’ offenses were among our youthful diatribes. But after a few stories about being kids the parental sections in these ladies began to appear. One by one they told of how they found out about little Johnnie smoking or innocent Janie taking the car in the middle of the night. I have no children so I found this a fascinating conversation. I finally asked a question that many a teenager may want to know the answer to, “At what point,” I chimed in, “do you as mothers grow those eyes in the back of your heads?”
A rousing round of laughter erupted from mothers all around me. I felt that unless you know the secret handshake, can spin around three times, counterclockwise, without falling down, and you are able to recall every second of the childbirth experience you will not have privy to the magical ability to have eyes in the back of your head. But, to the woman, each one had some sixth sense, maybe a hormonal essence that they called upon to be able to get their children from kindergarten to high school graduation.
One man I know did tell me this tidbit. When the light of his life, his daughter, moved from elementary school to high school he felt her brain was sucked out. She all of a sudden couldn’t say full sentences. Once in high school her verbiage became one syllable. She would say; ya, no, huh, so, and bye. Oh and the only two syllable word she knew? Money.
Getting through life without admittance would be futile. Sometimes you have to admit what you did, just to cleanse your soul. Sometimes you have to admit something to get recognition. But most of the time you have to admit your deeds just to clear the air, move on, or, you know, get a new dishwasher gasket. I still have no idea how she knew it was me. Those darn back of the head eyes got me I just know it. I bow to mothers who truly, with a smile, can be called four eyes…
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book Ity Bits can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org