• Sahar Abdulaziz


And this is why you try to have them young…

The other day, for a minute or two, I thought for sure that a heart attack was in the offing. However, in reality, the gripping and bone curdling burning sensation I was experiencing was in fact, a severe anxiety-ridden blow to the senses that only a small theatrical child or two can produce.

My granddaughter is four –almost five years old. She’s brilliant, witty, well spoken and highly opinionated, -a typical Abdulaziz offshoot. Rarely does she use what I call ‘little people phraseology’ to describe whatever she needs, sees or wants. At any moment she will give you an entire dissertation on any given subject no matter how much or how little she actually knows. Nevertheless, by the end of her lesson, you will still feel schooled, if not entertained. So, with all this said, it came as quite a shock when this same child came running into the house the other day with her two-year-old baby brother both with hysterical tears streaming down their tiny chunky faces, screaming at the top of their lungs that, “the Teddy was going to get Mommy.”

Okay, ‘teddy’ in my mother-grandmother mind means BEAR! And THAT’S when the Mother Bear in me kicked into full gear. I took off running ready to unleash a set of claws of my own. But here’s the thing…

Before we go on any further, let’s first take a step back for a second to get the full effect of the circus I survive in.

On this particular day, the weather outside had been a glorious 87*. The sun was in its full zenith shining bright and intense. The sticky warmth of the day demanded water play for little people and so water play it was. In the backyard my adult daughter already had her two children in their swimsuits, dragging their towels behind them, and demanding the use of their umbrellas [That’s another story]. The small plastic blue baby pool now glistened as it filled with fresh cool water from the hose, while a smattering of pool toys littered the grass. The two gremlins were eager and ready for some fun in the sun.

With total abandonment, the young mother and her two sidekicks got themselves settled in for a ‘swim and a splash’. Now mind you, the distance from my garage to the backyard where the pool was set up is probably less than fifteen adult steps. From my kitchen window, I could easily see them all. Daughter on a lawn chair, children wading in the tiny pool, water continuing to fill the already filled pool…all seemed right in the world.

I could even hear from the open windows in the kitchen a plethora of giggles and laughter. The sweet sounds of summer filtering into my subconscious with a sort of peacefulness I remember from back in the days when my own brood tore up the backyard playing under the sprinkler. The same days I adore reminiscing about but don’t want to necessarily repeat. No offense, but I’m so done. Grandmother status all the way-- love my kids and their kids. However, nothing replaces a quiet good night’s rest at this juncture of my life. Sorry, just keeping it real.

So back to my story…

Inside the cool house, I was perfectly content not to have to be the one outside sweating and dodging sprayed water. While the coast was clear, I decided to use the time to catch up on some chores, busying myself with cleaning up from the previous meal, throwing in the next load of laundry, and wiping down a few newly sticky counters and surfaces. Little people can sure stick up a place, let me tell you- and in places you would never suspect until either you find yourself leaning on, touching or stepping directly on top of it. Grossness galore.

Anyway, as I tied the garbage bag, ready to toss, I simultaneously contemplated on what to prep for dinner. Since I love food, what to eat next is a constant. However, the VERY last thing on my mind was the three of them prancing and playing in the backyard until…

All of a sudden, the pitter-patter of tiny feet morphed into a semi-stampede, accompanied by a full-fledged earsplitting spine-crushing scream. Two bunches of chunky legs running and jumping in place accompanied by an animated pronouncement of certain death. The look on my grandchildren’s face rang sheer terror. My heart missed a beat.

“Nana! Nana!” HELP! Teddy! -is going to get Mommy!” [Tears, legs jumping, arms flailing] “Nana- HELP Mommy! Mommy!”

All I heard was ‘help Mommy and Teddy’- and immediately I associated the child communication with a bear attack, -accepting the plea for help to mean my daughter was being attacked by a bear. Living in the mountains, while not common, bear attacks do happen so I didn’t give it a second thought otherwise. Maybe that was my first mistake.

Without hesitation or a clear plan as to what I would actually do once faced by the hairy animal, the mother in me took off. I’d tear the claws off that beast with my teeth if I had to!

Think I’m joking? Try me.

I took off full speed, dropping everything and leaping over anything in my way. I honestly didn’t know my body could still move that fast. Heart pounding, my legs were on autopilot, but just as quickly as my Super Mother takeoff began its serious lift off, –it stopped. My rescue immediately foiled, coming to an abrupt halt just as I my body hurled through the open garage toward the scene of what I expected to be a bloody horror.

One step out and I almost careened headfirst ---smack into my daughter who was stomping towards the house trying to appear calm but obviously fed-up. In her hand she held her daughter’s pink teddy bear, shaking it high up in the air like the Holy Grail.

Shrieking, I grabbed her before knocking her down, checking for blood, wounds and gashes.

“Are you okay?” I panted, shaking her shoulders. I hadn’t run that fast since…well, a very long time. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

“I’m fine,” she answered flippantly, “but YOUR grandchildren are crazy.”

“What happened? Lani said a bear-” My heart continued pounding in my throat.

“Mom,” she stated in that tone of voice, which under different circumstances would have had me performing a tonsillectomy on the spot, “I saw a tiny garden snake in the grass. Lani heard me scream when I almost stepped on it. Then, of course, she had to start screaming and crying which made her brother start crying and screaming. She thought the snake was going to eat her teddybear, so she and Drisi went to get you. All the rest is pure drama.”

From the house, you could hear the tears, sniffles and moans still in full swing.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so I did a little of both. At one point, the two of us cracked up as I relayed to my daughter what and how the ‘danger’ was presented to me.

Forty-five minutes later, my heart began to beat normally. After gulping down my third cup of tea, I had to wonder how the hell I made it through raising six kids without losing my flipping mind!

AND just when I thought I was done raising kids it seems the baton of idiocy gets passed to the next generation to finish the job.

Welcome to my Circus Part 5:

Who brought the popcorn?

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