Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wisdom from Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck was always one of my favorite writers. She had a unique way of understanding life. She could make you howl with laughter and the next minute you would be crying. I sat up way too late last night reading the book that was composed after her death. Over 190 of her full length columns are inside this fun-filled book. I decided to share one that grabbed my attention.

No More Oatmeal Kisses-January 29,1969
A young mother writes,"I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrone,that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething:the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"

OK. One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!" And they will. Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do...and don't slam the door!" And they won't.
You'll staighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say our loud, "Now I want it to stay this way." And it will.
You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, Now, there's a meal for company." And you'll eat it alone.
You'll say, I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.
No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins in the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.
No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom. No more iron-on patches, rubber bands for ponytails, tight boots or wet knotted shoestrings.
Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby-sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.
No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.
Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.
Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?" and the silence echoing,"I did."


Kelly S said...

And why is there a lump in my throat?! So sad and it's going to happen all too quickly! It's hard to believe Josh will be 10 this year! Where does time go?

Lisa Holloway Slater said...

Great post, Sherilyn. I know all too well about the empty-nest syndrome! It does get easier with time though. And now I will get to deal with it all again since God has blessed us with another pregnancy. I don't want to think about what will happen in about 18 years from now. I am excited to think about what is to come to us in the very near future.

Ronda said...

O.K., I now have tears in my heart!! What a thought-provoking post!! I'd love to keep my kids little forever...even on the "crazy" days! Thanks for sharing this reminder... (P.S.~I would love to share a cup of caramel-truffle tea with you!):)

Making Memories 1999 said...

Thanks for sharing this! It hits me every so often...time goes so fast!!

Allana Martian said...

Boy, did THAT one hit home! How I would love to have a private phone conversation! Or a toy free zone in the living room. After reading that, though, I'm not so sure! She makes quiet and order sound depressing! What a great reminder to treasure them even now because now will soon be gone.