“Oh my God,” I said, sitting on the seat of the city bus with my thirteen year old butt, reading the excuse my mother had written. Could life really get any worse?
That is when I learned the art of forgery.
My revised note was accepted, stamped, dropped on top of a pile of notes in the office and off to class I went for three and a half more years until I finally walked up and received my diploma. After a summer of table hopping and lounging around, I spent two semesters in college. That first college spring, with one more final to go, I married Jason. We jumped into a red TR-6 convertible with an Irish Setter in the space behind us and headed west. To our surprise we spent two years baking bread and decorating cakes in Gardiner, Montana. And then we landed back in Wisconsin, where I soon gave birth to our beautiful boys, Marques and Rene.
And then we had irreconcilalble differences that could not be reconciled. That is why they call it, irreconcilable differences.
So as not to cast any negative dispersions on Jason, I will admit, it was all my fault.
Three years later at twenty-nine, I was all grown up for the second time and about to be married again.
This time it was to my sweet Sven, who would bring along to or kitchen table, his daughter of nine years, Adrienne.
She stomped away, all two feet of her, arms folded and her little flip flops on the wrong feet sticking straight out to the sides.
I looked at her other grandma who was standing next to me in the warm, early morning sun, with raised eyebrows.
“She insisted on dressing herself,” Giselle said.
We tried to stifle our laughter.
Our granddaughter was not in the mood to have her picture taken.
I felt the same.
But I soon learned that it was a tradition.
It was the departure morning of vacation during the summer of 2001. And it was the year that Sven and I had been invited to ‘save a cabin’ at the resort, because one of Giselle’s brothers opted out.
I was under the impression that if I ever published a book, balloons would fall from the sky and everything in the world would be perfect.
I would float away on a cloud.
I would be the definition of Zen.
But you know what?
I am still a total bitch when I can’t find my sunglasses.
I still get huffy when Sven leaves his shit all over the place.
And I still go berserk when Hunter runs in the door fresh from the pond, and shakes.
Life is full of little disappointments.
Remember when you were a kid in the dark of the night and you heard your bedroom door open? And then you saw silhouettes of your parents standing in the hall? And then your dad tip-toed into your room and your mom stayed behind, with her hands on her hips? And your dad was making his way toward your bed, so you closed your eyes tight and pretended to be asleep? And then remember how he gently slid his hand under your pillow and then he silently walked away and vanished?
As we mature beyond middle age, the amount of time that was once spent doing the mumbo jumbo turns into more sleep, less jumbo.
This enables us to hear all the shit going on.
Perhaps if you live in the inner city you will begin to hear sirens, horns and shootings. Maybe if you live on the outskirts of town you will notice a squealing tire, a barking dog or your neighbor’s being robbed. But if you live in the black hole with a murky pond out your back door, where Sven and I happen to reside, you will start to hear everybody doing it.
This is nothing new. It has always been going on.
I have been lulled to sleep by all the chirping, clucking and screams, for years.
But as each new spring arrives and I grow just a little bit older, it is has become clear to me that I had not really been listening.
Every year Sven says, “I love the Spring Peepers.”
I know what he means. They are the first little green guys to arrive after the thaw. They are so excited about life and the possibility of screwing that they cannot stop their peeping and tweeting to save their souls. They are the definition of middle school.
I myself happen to love the Chorus Frogs. I may be tone deaf, but I know harmony when I hear it.
But, not all sounds are that wonderful.
Nature is nature.
“Do something!” I yelled at Sven in the dark.
“What am I supposed to do?” he yelled back at me as we pictured a fawn drowning at the hands of a pack of coyotes.