Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

In Case of Emergency…

My 17 year old daughter announced the other night that if she were to ever write a book about me it would be titled, “In Case of Emergency.”  For a fleeting moment, I’d hoped it was because she saw me as a strong role model, a woman who is calm, cool and collected in times of distress, someone to turn to when things go wrong.  I was wrong.


“Mom, you have given me so many speeches about what to do in the event of a threat, whether nature-related or man-made, that I have more than enough material to write a book about it.”  It’s true.  I have spent so much time preparing my daughter for every manner of worst-case scenario on the planet that I probably haven’t adequately prepared her for your average day-on-the-cheese-farm kind of life.


From the time she could focus her tiny eyes on my moving lips, I was babbling her first lessons involving Stranger-Danger, lectures that continue to this day.  The first thing I tried to impress upon her was that bad guys don’t always come dressed in oil-stained trenchcoats with bad teeth and leering smiles (but then again, sometimes they do,  I’ve met them).  Not sure what these speeches really did to her psyche about inherently trusting people, but my girl knows a thing or two about wolves in sheep’s clothing, to be sure.  She knows that the guy in the Brooks Brothers shirt is equally as capable of being a creeper as anybody else.  To be fair, I should also point out that she also knows a fellow down-on-his-luck under a cardboard awning might be an awfully nice human being.


When she first ventured out on the front lawn alone, my daughter started to hear what she calls Safety Speech 101 and claims that by age 11 she’d heard it a million times (I’m a firm believer that while you may tune me out the first 1,000,000 times you hear my voice, I might finally bash my way through at 1,000,001).  As she’d zip up her cardigan/jacket/sweatshirt (following rule #3 of Safety Speech 102 in relation to hypothermia) she’d mimic my words perfectly, “I know, mother.  If someone tries to grab you and tells you to be quiet and you won’t get hurt – it’s a lie!  You scream and holler, bite and kick and pee all over them if you have to in order to get away.”  Spot on, my darling.  Inflection and all.


Right around the time of her elementary school promotion ceremony I started giving the Some of Your Friends are Going to be Idiots lecture.  This mostly involved long tirades about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and how kids would try and talk you into taking them or, worse yet, trick you into it.  The night I drove her to her first boy-girl party I slowed the car down to 23 mph (in a 25 mph zone – a whole other lecture series on Drive Time Safety) and stammered my way through the list of possibilities, a list she can impressively rattle of in about 6.3 seconds today, “When you’re at a party make sure you are the one in charge of getting your drinks, in an un-opened can or bottle.  Never set your drink down where someone could slip something into it.  If you do, throw it away upon return to your seat and get a new one.”  The codicil to this ranting is that if she promises not to drink with any of her idiot friends before her 21st birthday, she will be rewarded with a trip to wine country where she can gain a little respect about grape growing, harvesting and whatnot.  Hopefully, by then, she’ll be mature enough to make her own decisions about all the fermented falderal.


In addition to the above-mentioned examples, there are multiple add-ons to this In Case of Emergency series that I’m apparently known for:


  • There’s no reason to go to a public restroom alone, when you’re with your friends.  Go in a pairs.  Always. [Zombie movie reference available, if needed.]
  • Your precious personal space is your own valuable real estate.  Use your elbows to block pesky boys who try to invade it (much to my chagrin, this rule died a miserable and wimpy death after her first official date when she turned 16).
  • Make-up and their respective brushes are not to be shared, I don’t care how cute or unusual the color, consistency or sheen (FYI with minimal word change, this rule also applies to hats and the swapping of bathing suits or skivvies).
  • Never poach another woman’s man or employ your eyelashes while in his presence.  Your corneas are vital to your existence (oh, and I guaran-dang-tee you they will be scratched if you ever-ever-ever break this rule).

 You can breathe easy.  I won’t bore you with the rest.  Because apparently, there is a fantasy book deal in the making here and I won’t be the one to ruin the surprise ending.  Although I realize now, I will probably have to sit my daughter down and warn her about nefarious agents and nebulous publishing contracts.


Ah!  I think I smell a sequel!

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