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Staying on the Funny Side of Spontaneity

Kelly Swanson

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Today I decided to have a moment of spontaneity with my toddler, which is unusual for me to engage in things I can't spell. Usually I like my spontaneous moments to occur on weekends - not during those precious work hours when I could be sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. But when Junior asked me for the 147th time if he could do bubbles, I stopped typing, looked up, and much to his surprise and mine said yes, and we ran outside before I could change my mind.

No coats. No shoes. No sunscreen. We just ran out into the glorious sunshine and, despite that moment where I tripped down the stairs, it was like a scene right out of a movie. Until we started arguing over the bubbles - who was going to hold the jar - who was going to blow - who would get to eat the half-eaten candy bar we found on the ground. And what started as a sweet mommy-and-me project of love and togetherness that belonged on the cover of Good Mommy Magazine, quickly spiraled into a devil-mommy-spanks-kid-in-the-front-yard moment that belonged on the cover of Moms Who Shouldn't Be Magazine. So much for my sweet-lady-next-door image which, according to my husband, disappeared a long time ago somewhere between the time I threw a pot roast at him as he ran to his car and the time I accidentally posted my labor pictures on MySpace.

And so our bubble blowing fiasco ended as quickly as it had begun when Junior spilled the entire bottle of bubble liquid on the ground which left us with nothing to do but just sit - at least that was my plan - to lounge under the oak tree while he lay his head on my lap and I read him excerpts from articles I had written. His plan was to sprint down the driveway and collide into the car in rapid succession (yeah, I'm thinking trade school), see which bricks on the side of the house were loose, dig for worms, and lick bark - all of which he found great delight in while my rear end lost feeling on the cold cement porch, my eyes itched, the wind kept blowing my hair into my lip gloss, I got a bug in my teeth, I was reminded of everything in the yard that needs to be done, and I swear I could hear the whisper of missed opportunities on the breeze. Then the rabid squirrel jumped out of a bush and sent both of us running into the house in a fit of hysterics. I probably shouldn't have pushed Junior down on my way to the front porch.

We were both sticky with bubble juice and had to break routine and take a bath in the afternoon (no, not together, they won't let me do that anymore) and I was so worn out that I crawled into bed with him at naptime - the rest of my work day ruined. No emails answered, no phone calls returned. And as he was curled up against me, his hair still wet from his bath, his arm thrown around my neck, he whispers, “That was fun Mommy" and fell asleep. And my heart great three sizes that day. And somehow I knew that even in my wrong way, I had done the right thing - that years down the road I wouldn't remember the lost hours of work. I would remember him laughing and running in his bare feet. Before he stubbed his toe on that rock.

You probably don't have a toddler. You probably don't work from home. But I'd bet you, like me, miss some of the precious spontaneous opportunities to jump up and go blow some bubbles. Let's don't do that anymore. Okay?

(PS Who decided a thirty-seven piece, multi-faceted, battery-operated, monogrammed bubble set with retractable pieces and a matching keychain should be fifty-nine cents at Target - but toilet paper costs me four dollars? I guess the same people who decided to charge us for air at the gas station. )

Kelly Swanson, Humorist
Powerful Message, Outrageously Funny


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