I have known my share of kids who should grow up to be professional. Their ability to tell stories which such believable quality was something I admired once I figured out whether or not they were telling the truth. Not only did they have exceptional skill, but also exceptional imagination and I admit to falling for their fibs more often than not.
But like the cuteness of falling asleep in your birthday cake, these abilities don’t last forever. At some point the fantasy needs to separated from reality and the charm of making things up disappears. This is especially true when asked if you have cleaned your room, finished your homework, and other such questions.
Our children are well beyond the stage of storytelling. The youngest, at 8, only tells fibs to get out of work instead of the wild imagination she once had. While I miss it, I appreciate the healthy respect we have for the truth. It makes our relationship a little easier for me to know that I can trust her when she speaks. Which is why I’ve been driving like a lunatic for the last few days.
It started when I parked the car in the garage with the windows down. Ready to race her to the next event, we opened the doors to go in and I heard words I thought I’d never hear. “Mom, you’re not gonna believe this, but I just saw a squirrel.”
“Yes, I have seen squirrels in the garage before. And chipmunks,” I replied.
“No, mom. Not in the garage. In the car. It ran that way,” she said, and pointed under the seat towards the back of the vehicle. “I saw a brown, fuzzy tail. I’m pretty sure it was a chipmunk.”
My brain is trying to process all of this. For one, we are late to her event, as usual. Two, she is old enough to not make up crazy stuff like this for no reason. Three, the windows were down in the garage for 15 minutes, which wouldn’t give anything long to find its way in. And four, complete with expletives, there might possibly be a rodent in my car because I have a track record of attracting wild animals.
Doors immediately were flung open and flashlights were used. We looked in every nook and cranny possible and though we found nothing were running quite late. So I did the only thing I could think of doing. We got in the car and made as much noise as possible. We banged on the dashboard and seats and yelled “No chipmunks!” at the top of our lungs and continued to do so for the next few days.
As of this writing, I have yet to see any evidence of rodent in my car. But that doesn’t mean I won’t bark out a few “No chipmunks!” now and then while driving down the road, my mirrors readjusted to view unwelcome visitors in the backseat.
Originally written 4.24.16