Please Remember To Rewind Your Bundles Of Joy

, , , , , , | Related | January 3, 2019

(After years of trying to adopt, my parents are about to give up on the idea of “kids,” when I am suddenly “put on the market,” as it were. The whole process is a rather rushed affair, so not everyone my parents’ know hears about my homecoming beforehand. One of our next-door neighbors is a very nice woman who’s always been very friendly towards our family. On a side note, this takes place shortly after home video devices have become more commonplace.)

Neighbor: “So, what are you guys getting each other for Christmas?”

Mom: *trying not to laugh* “Something pretty special… and expensive.”

Neighbor: “A new vacuum cleaner?”

Mom: “Smaller, and more expensive.”

Neighbor: “I know! You’re finally getting a VCR!”

Mom: *trying even harder not to grin* “Looks like you’ll just have to come over tomorrow and see.”
(You can imagine our neighbor’s surprise when she saw a five-month-old baby girl, instead! Apparently, my parents had always been a bit slow to update their tech, because several other people also thought I was a VCR!)

You Never Understand Parenting Until You Become One

, , , , , | Friendly | November 23, 2018

(Not long after having my first baby, I am visiting with my cousin, who has two children of his own. My husband and I ask about local motels in the area to stay overnight in, and my cousin invites us to stay with his family. We are unloading so much luggage out of the car.)

Me: “I’m sorry there’s so much; we had to bring a lot more than normal because of [Baby].”

Cousin: *laughing* “You don’t need to apologise to me; I’m a parent, too.” *more serious* “I was an absolute a**hole to my friends when they had babies; I kept telling them that they shouldn’t let the babies run their lives. I would let them have it whenever they told me they couldn’t go out with me or go partying because the baby was sick or too tired. After we had [First Daughter], I went around to each of them and apologised for being such a d**k to them.”

Old Man Behaves Like Big Baby When Confronted With A Real One

, , , , , | Working | November 9, 2018

We just returned from the hospital after the birth of our son. The birth itself started at 5:00 pm and took over 24 hours. Naturally, even after one week in the hospital my wife is merely holding on, trying to get as much sleep at a time and generally moving like a robot with a near-dead battery.

Nevertheless, we decide to go grocery shopping; after a week in the hospital we have almost nothing fresh left at home.

The baby is not very content with the first drive in the stroller and decides that he definitely needs to be held in someone’s arms — otherwise he screams his head off — so I carry him through the store, which, of course, means my wife needs to handle all the produce.

Due to our lack of mobility we decide to use a traditional register as opposed to the self-scanning we regularly use. While my wife is very slowly putting the products on the conveyor belt, an old couple behind us simply starts to load their items on the belt, which means we can no longer place our remaining items, as the belt moves much faster than my wife. Luckily, she manages to put most of it on the belt and simply tells the cashier what’s left in the cart so she can ring it up manually.

After she manages to grab the wallet out of my pocket and pay for our stuff, we start loading the items into our stroller, which is empty due to the baby in my arms.

Naturally, the old man behind us decides it’s now his turn to bag his items, as well, and he literally pushes past my wife while mumbling, “I need to get my groceries, too, you know!”

The cashier, an older woman I never perceived as very friendly before, sternly looks at my wife and tells her to go home and sit down for a while. She literally leaves the old guy’s wife standing there waiting to pay for her items, exits her booth, and helps my wife to load the remaining items into our cart.

I have never ever seen any cashier bagging items in this country where the customer is expected to do this himself. Thank you very much for the support in our difficult situation. The longer I am a parent, the more I feel that only people who have kids themselves know how tough certain situations are.

You’ll Have Real PTSD From His Fake One

, , , , , , | Related | October 30, 2018

Many years ago, for my cousin’s wedding, my family got together at a beach house. My cousin’s father had passed away the previous year, so a family friend was called in to walk her down the aisle. Immediately things got awkward when the family friend’s 30-year-old son walked in with his 16-year-old girlfriend. We all had many suspicions about the son, starting with drugs and ending with murder, but it was all speculation. He just came across as that kind of person.

The night before the wedding, the bride decided she wanted one more night out. Her controlling and mentally abusive mother caused a huge scene about this. She said that her father would be disgusted with her, and that if the bride left she would disown her. Then my aunt turned to me, being 17 and impressionable, and said I was to tell her if they left the house.

We were all consoling my obviously upset cousin at this point, when suddenly the family friend’s son appeared. He said he talked to my aunt, and convinced her to let the bride go out with a few people who were of age. This included my brother, his girlfriend, the bride, and the son. I felt very strange about this, as my aunt is not the kind of person to change her mind. I said I wanted to talk to her, but the son got very confrontational, saying it was taken care of and that I didn’t need to cause anymore drama. So, against my better judgment, I let them go.

I stayed awake, restless, while all the adults slept. Finally, an hour later, the bride and my brother’s girlfriend returned in a panic. Apparently they met up with the groom and groomsmen while out for some extra fun. The son got drunk and started having “PTSD flashbacks of the war,” which caused him to become belligerent. One of the groomsmen stepped in to calm him down, and the son punched him and pulled a knife. My brother restrained the son and told everyone to get out, telling his girlfriend to take the bride home.

Now I was panicking, and my brother wasn’t answering his phone. He was out at night with an armed and psychotic drunk. So, I did something I really didn’t want to. I woke up my parents and told them what happened. Immediately, they leapt into action, jumping in the car with my brother’s girlfriend to look for him. My cousin and I were told to get in a room and lock the door. We were scared, holding each other, when we heard stomping and screaming upstairs. My aunt had woken up.

For the next half hour, we had no idea what was going on. We were trapped in a room, listening to the world blowing up around us. People were running around, no one was answering their phones, and my aunt was screaming at us through the door. I’ve blocked out most of the words my aunt spat at us that night, but I know she was yelling about leaving the family.

Eventually, my parents came back and told us to open the door. My brother was fine. He had managed to disarm and talk down the son, and they were walking around outside when my parents got there. The son’s father got him in the car, and they went home and put him to bed on the air mattress my parents brought. The next morning he was so embarrassed that he wouldn’t show his face to the family. The air mattress was ruined by multiple tears and fluids.

The 16-year-old girlfriend did make an appearance at the wedding, but it was brief. The son was nowhere to be found. His parents apologized profusely for his actions, and told us he had never been in the military, let alone a war. Still, the wedding went off without a problem. My aunt stayed for it all and apologized years down the line for how she acted. My cousin is still happily married, and has a small child now. I’m just hoping I don’t have to attend another wedding for a long, long time.

Putting The “Fun” Into “Funeral”

, , , , , , , | Related | October 23, 2018

I’ve been told my step-great-grandmother was always… an interesting woman. Since I was young, I didn’t know her extremely well, other than that she decorated every room of her house with a theme — bunnies, cats, red-white-and-blue, old-timey western store, etc. — and that she was insanely proud of her atrocious crabcakes that would make any Marylander weep.

When she died when I was in middle school, I had no idea what was waiting. My family packed up and drove three hours south for her funeral service, not knowing what she had planned. I was raised religious, but she wasn’t the same religion, so it was the first funeral I’d ever been to that would deviate from what I had learned as the usual.

Apparently her plans started with a bluegrass gospel band playing for about an hour, followed by stories from loved ones we never knew well. Hearing about anyone at a funeral is usually tear-jerking for me, even if I never really knew them, so I wasn’t handling the service great and just wanted to leave. Eventually it was wrapped up by an old friend of hers. He was a blind, one-armed man who played the harmonica and sang Battle Hymn of the Republic. I know it’s a bit insensitive and I’m not really proud of it today, but the blind man singing, “I have seen the glory,” was more than I could take and I snickered a bit. This set off my cousins just flat-out laughing, which earned them some less-than-enthused looks while they tried to disguise it as crying.

When I talked to other family members afterward, they found it odd, too, but pretty much all of them said, “Well… that’s Mary for you.” Everyone agreed that the entire thing, including the kids laughing, was exactly what she would have wanted.

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