Hart Beat

Sometimes your words come back to bite you

When I started writing my humble personal view on life nearly 30 years ago I had no idea I would be writing weekly installments of my autobiography.

I assure you that was never my intention. I was simply trying to fill space in the newspaper at the request of my various copy-hungry editors. Mostly I've restricted myself to writing about things that are common place for most people. I've always felt the sharing of trials and tribulations of parenting and of life, in general, might ring a few bells for most people. Sometimes that process has worked, other times, well, let's hope no one remembers those columns.

In my effort to create a pulse for my Hartbeat column, I never worried that my ramblings might someday come back to bite me square in the - well, you get the idea.

Over the years I have shared, for better or worse, the stories of my children's progress in school, marriage, careers, and a zillion other topics that defy description. Looking back on the tons of paper I've helped generate, it amazes me that I have so few copies of those words detailing my family genealogy.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you view it, my daughters have saved a few copies of my regular scribblings. Usually, they have saved only those that pertain directly to them as individuals. For example, my daughter, Sarah, this past week revealed to me that I had given her permission to live with me forever!

"EGAD! Surely not," I said to her.

"Oh, yeah. See, it's right here in this column about my 21st birthday," she grinned.

Darned if it didn't say that exactly.

It seems on her 21st birthday, I was worried about her tobacco habit. I'm sure I meant to say I wanted her to be around a long time. But what I wrote was, "...I love her and want her to live with me forever."

Naturally like any good mother I do hope that someday that she gets out of the nest and makes her own home. Of course I believe she will leave me high and dry the minute I need her to take care of me when I need to be fed and diapered in my old age.

She has never denied that prediction.

In the meantime, Sarah has that "living at home forever" column framed and centrally located on her bedroom wall, just in case I ever threaten to kick her out.

One column she no doubt won't be displaying publicly attests to her nasty temper. I know you all think she is a real sweetie and mostly she is. But she is strong minded, as I discovered when she was only a baby.

One of my columns dating back to when she was only 3-years-old and hated going to the daycare center, details that temper and her stubbornness.

The column, dated February 1979, details the manner in which she tried to get out of doing everything I wanted her to do. Her tiny anti-mom method included bribery, cajoling and, if all else failed, a tantrum of some sort, at the most inopportune time.

The column tells of her ultimate plan to keep from being left at the day care center, which was her "job," while I was at my job.

She promised that if she could stay home, she'd clean house, fix supper and wash clothes. At the time that seemed like a great idea. I, naturally, suspected she'd never do any of that if she lived to be old enough to help out around the house.

Now, nearly 25 years later, she still promises to do all that and, still she doesn't. Even so, that chore list continues to create its own set of battles, some of which I win, some which she wins.

All of this leads me to wonder if this week's installment into the life of Hart will also find its way to her Wall of Fame or if she'll crumple it up and say, "Oh Mom, I was just kidding."

We'll wait 20 years and see.


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