Do you hear what echoes I hear?

Hunting, Fishing and Other Grounds for Divorce, by Jacki Michels, for the Redoubt Reporter

Echoes are intriguing. All one has to do is yell across an expanse and, “Hello! Hello. H-e-l-l-o.” Your own voice bounces back to you.

This is not unlike the phenomenon one experiences while listening in on adult children in the process of raising their own little children.

Words we’ve once uttered bounce back and reverberate off your children’s lips. Then they float over the air and tickle our ears in an eerily familiar way.

For us, these echoes do not bounce back from afar, but from various locations of the house as several of our children (and their children) have bounced back home. Whew!  Christmas was, of course, the best ever, and I am so, so, so glad I get a year to recover — oops! I mean, prepare for next year.

So as we fill our days sweeping up stray pine needles and enduring — I mean, savoring — a few more precious days of vacation before returning to our regularly scheduled lives, various carols replay in my mind. However, the lyrics to the carols keep getting all jumbled up in all the chaos — oops, I mean, delightful quality time. One warped tune goes something like this:

“Said my grown girl to her little lambs (while they were bickering and she was on the phone and they were interrupting, tattling, whining and in general risking being in time out until they were eligible for Social Security).

“Do you want me to settle that for you? I said, DO YOU WANT ME TO SETTLE THAT FOR YOU? I’m Mom, Mom! And what I say goes, so do as you’re told, oh please oh do as you’re told!”

And when she sat down to dinner, after a very long day, and she was hoping the baby was finally asleep, she muttered something like, “Do you hear what I hear? The baby cries, she cries, Oh!”

Here’s where it gets weirder, because instead of a rhyming line, I hear an echo that seems to originate from my mouth and stream right out of my daughter’s:

“Oh! I am not a good parent past 7:30! I’m exhausted!”

Once she gets rolling, these echoes keep flowing fourth like Cheerios being poured out of the box onto the living room floor.

“Oh, you are n-o-t playing that game all night! Wash your hands, all of you, and use soap! Oh! Use a fork! Oh! Be careful with that fork or you’ll put your sister’s eye out. Oh! There is NO way you are having a gingerbread house for dinner! Because I’m your mother, that’s why. Oh! How many times do I have to tell you? Eat your dinner. Don’t bug your brother. Don’t interrupt. Quit kicking under the table. Don’t feed the dog from the table! I bust my chops to make you dinner and the thanks I get is complaints about the broccoli touching the potatoes? Oh! Get that look off your face and put your tongue back in your mouth! Oh! I know you did because I’ve got eyes in the back of my head, that’s how!”

(Deep, cleansing breath.) “Oh child, oh child, listen to what I say — because I said so! And yes, I AM the boss of you!”

Then, as if to herself, “Oh! Just you wait until you have kids of your own — then you’ll understand.” I’ll admit to hoping she could not see the little smirk on my face, even though her back was turned.

Grounds for Divorce No 7,444: Calling wife “Grannie” and teaching the grandkids to do so.

Jacki Michels is a freelance writer, nurse, wife, mom and grandmother.

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Filed under Fishing and Other Grounds for Divorce, holidays

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