As a little girl, I devoured every written word in front of me. I read everything from nutrition labels on the cereal box to warning inserts about toxic shock syndrome. If it had words, I was probably reading it.
I read the dictionary and cross-referenced words that I didn’t know. I learned plenty of bad words that way. Or proper words for bad things I already knew. I suppose it was my antiquated version of Google and Wikipedia.
My first steamy romance novel was left in my bedroom after a family member visited. I learned way more about sexual positions than I should have known when I found a sex how-to book in my mother’s closet. Thankfully, that book taught me that I would not go blind or grow hair on my palms from masturbation like my brothers would.
My grandparents had shelves full of encyclopedias and old textbooks. I loved to curl up in the corner, behind their old chairs, secluded and reading for long stretches of time. One of my favorite books on those old bookshelves was a reading textbook from someone’s long-gone school days.
There was a particular story in that book that captured my imagination, and an animated dinner conversation brought the story to mind. I promised the Hobbits that I would tell a bedtime story instead of our usual reading time. With all of the Hobbits gathered around, I began the story….
Once upon a time, there was a little boy and a little girl who became best friends. The little girl always wore a yellow ribbon tied around her neck. The little boy asked, “Why do you always wear that yellow ribbon around your neck?” She mysteriously replied that perhaps, someday, she would tell him the reason.
The story continues as the children grow up, fall in love, and eventually get married. The question continues to be asked and unanswered, “why do you always wear the yellow ribbon around your neck?”
Finally, into old age, the woman is on her deathbed and reveals her secret. She gives the boy permission to remove her yellow ribbon “and….. plop…. her head fell off!”
The Hobbits had a split second of shocked silence, and then dissolved into uncontrollable laughter. They repeated over and over through their giggles, “Plop! Her head fell off!”
One example of why I am not that great at mothering. That is no way to settle rowdy Hobbits into bed. What was I thinking? By the time they were tucked in, I just wanted to yell at them to be quiet.
But then, when the house was quiet, I was convinced that I am a rocking good mom.
Hopefully, they will not remember all of the nights that I hastily pushed them toward their beds, looking forward to the glass of wine or the bag of Oreo cookies waiting for me.
I hope someday, as adults, they will find themselves all gathered together, dissolving into laughter, before the most mischievous of them can even finish saying the word, “Plop!….”