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the_mistakes_and_lessons_of_being_a_parentThe dream of a tranquil surrounding with peace and serenity evaporated somewhere around child number two. 

My youngest of four, fondly known as Dennis the Menace, is eight. I’m still waiting for the uphill slope. I have given birth to a very active, healthy, loud, physical, eight-year-old boy who livens up our house with his mere presence. He is also good at creating stories that will be long remembered, like last weekend’s.

It all started off great, it always does. My husband and I got up bright and early and headed out to the gym for some exercise. Mistake number one.  We were having my extended family over for a birthday party at 2p.m., so we wanted to make the most of the day while still leaving a window of time for final preparations.

In the meantime, my two teenage girls decided they would head out for a run and leave Dennis the Menace and my twelve-year-old son behind. Mistake number two. They laced up their sneakers, let the dog outside (mistake number three), and yelled to the boys that they would be back in 30 minutes. They figured nothing could happen in thirty minute that my oldest son who is twelve couldn’t handle. Mistake number four.

As they headed down the driveway, they noticed something moving in the bushes.

“Jake” they called, thinking that the dog may have followed them. No sign of Jake.

Inching their way closer to the woods for a better look, our Standard Poodle sent them reeling, bounding out of the woods and making his way straight for the house where my Denise The Menace graciously let him in. Mistake number five.

“What’s that smell?” my oldest one yelled. 

”Carter did you let one rip? Get the dog out of here.” The chase for the dog began.

The boys looked at each other and quickly realized that our house was covered with skunk oil, and that momentarily there would be one unhappy mother walking through that door. They quickly, I give them credit for that, lit every candle they could find.

The girls, on their own mission, came screaming up our front hill. Behind them was the cat with the skunk in her mouth…the dead skunk.

My husband and I feeling rejuvenated and temporarily in control, came rolling up the driveway in our car singing to the tune of Hotel California until we saw our eight year old bundle of joy with a giant snow shovel, dead skunk in tow, chasing his sisters from one end of the driveway to the other.

“NOOOOO” we began screaming.

I jammed my car into park. Carter stopped in his tracks and made a motion with the shovel as if it were his lacrosse stick, preparing to catapult the skunk into the trees toward our shed.

My husband screaming something about an idiot did the 50-yard dash, running toward my son with the skunk. It was a proud family moment.

I just stood in shock not know what was worse, what I smelled or what I saw; my two daughters in their running shorts, tomatoes soup covering the driveway, and my dog on a leash who I would have mistaken for a water rat, if it weren’t for the stench of skunk.

Another family memory.

Lesson number one: as a parent, rule out the carefully laid out plans. They only exist in Disney World or on television. Your best bet is to expect the unexpected and realize that some day you will be looking back and laughing with the rest of the group.

For more work by me, please visit Thought I Was Perfect.  

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