Erma Bombeck is remembered as more than just a brilliant writer. She paved the way for wives and mothers to openly admit the difficulties encountered in every day life. She broke away from the status quo and embraced imperfection. She is legendary for her ability to tell the stories of her life with incredible humor and unwavering honesty. The following story is my tribute to Erma. While Erma’s gift to “tell it like it is” is exceedingly difficult to replicate, she will always have a huge influence on my writing.
I don’t understand why siblings seem to make it their goal in life to be cruel to each other. Sometimes I think they do it just to get a reaction out of me. And they usually do. The meanness will make my blood boil faster than a pot of water.
One day, Eric and Jake were having an argument that escalated to the point that I felt I needed to step in and ask “What happened??” Both started spewing out responses at the same time. “He started it.” “I didn’t do it.” “It’s his fault.” “It’s not my fault.” I interupted, “Woah, wait a minute. From the beginning!” Eric responded, “Well, it all started when I was born and…” Maybe you are on to something Eric.
Jake enjoys looking at videos on Youtube. I saw his most recent search on the computer. “How to annoy people.” I don’t think any instruction is needed for that topic.
Jake got in trouble for calling Eric a nerd for reading the newspaper. When I reprimanded him about it, he concocted the answer “That was a compliment. It means Not…Ever…Really…Dumb.” Good save.
Jimmy and Jake were having a pretend fight as we were leaving a football game. Jake rolled on the ground while Jimmy “kicked” him. An elderly lady came up and yelled for them to stop fighting. Jimmy tried to inform her that it was ok because they were brothers but Jake interjected, “No we aren’t. I don’t know him. He’s bullying me!” Jimmy couldn’t convince her otherwise and they both ran to the car while she yelled after them. Jimmy and Jake still quote her sometimes. “Don’t make me have to go get my badge!” To this day we can’t figure out what kind of badge she would have had.
The game “punch buggy” involves punching someone in the arm every time you see a VW Bug. During an intense “punch” game, Greg was getting frustrated because he was in the back row of our Suburban and couldn’t reach anyone. I saw him kicking and was ready to scold him when he yelled “Kick buggy, no kick back!” All I could do was laugh. The game eventually got out of control and the punching was banished because of too many injuries and complaints. A few minutes later Greg exclaimed, “Say buggy, no say backs!”
Eric came to inform me that Greg called him “dumb.” Greg ran in and defensively responded, “I did NOT. I called you dork.” Yes, that is much better.
Just when I was about to lose all hope of them ever getting along, the following conversation happened on the way to the first day of school for Greg. Eric asked if Greg knew where to go and Greg said he couldn’t remember. Eric put his hand on Greg’s shoulder and reassured him, “Don’t worry. I will show you the way.”
With moments like that, maybe brotherly brawls and parental peace actually can coexist. Hopefully they will show me the way when I forget.