Two years ago my daughter Lauren (now 8 ) hopped in the car after spending time with a friend and excitedly told me the scary story her friend (let’s call her Mary) had just recounted to her. It seems Mary and her family had just moved into a new home when one night they heard strange noises from their driveway. The little girl’s dad peered out to investigate and discovered a drunk man seeking refuge in their unlocked car. A 911 call followed and local policemen came to remove the drunken man from the car and take him to jail to sober up.
This was the day my daughter learned what “drunk” means. I remember the day and the story well.
Recently, our children were talking about creepy things at dinner. Lauren proclaimed she had a creepy story that would scare all of us. She then proceded to tell us how one night Mary was asleep in her bed when she suddenly awoke. A man with ripped clothes and blood all over him had stumbled out of the woods and was peering in her window. Mary called to her parents who came running to see this bloody drunk man stumbling around their yard. As they huddled around Mary’s window looking for him, they heard a knock at the front door. The injured drunk man covered in blood pounded on their door trying to get into their home.
As Lauren described the man’s blood-soaked clothes and massive injuries, our other daughter reacted with all the fear and creeped-out-ness Lauren had hoped for. (Our boys alternated between exlaiming “ewwwww” and “cool.”) I was shocked at how the story had changed since I had heard it 2 years earlier. As I glanced at my husband, I could tell that he too was amazed at the evolution of the tale. It had grown tall indeed.
Though I was impressed with her creativity and imagination, I had to interrupt Lauren to ask about the changes. “Honey, I remember when Mary told you this story 2 years ago. The man wasn’t bloody. He wasn’t even injured. He was drunk and climbed into their car. He didn’t knock at their door. He didn’t peer into her window. He just climbed into their car until the police came and took him away.” My eyebrows raised in question.
To my surprise, Lauren laughed and said, “I was only adding in some drama.” Adding in some drama.
My goodness! We have enough drama around here. We have a couple drama queens and some drama kings. We may lack money; we may lack space; we may lack organizational skills; but drama is one thing we do not lack.
My now 7-year old daughter once fell to the floor and exclaimed I was ruining her life. She was 3. This same daughter is the Princess of Superlatives.
“Momma, these are the best eggs I’ve ever eaten!”
“Daddy, this is the best pizza. You are the best pizza maker in the world!”
“This is the best holiday ever!”
“This day has just been the best!”
According to our 7-year old, we have the best family with the cutest brothers and the nicest sister and the best daddy and the nicest mommy and the greatest dog. Of course, just as she feels every positive emotion to its fullest, she also experiences every negative emotion to its fullest. So when she scrapes her knee, she mourns that everything bad has to happen to her. When she misses a math problem — one math problem — she cries that she is awful at math and her brain isn’t working so great today anyway and what’s the matter with her and why am I expecting her to know hard problems anyway! Drama . . . this one child would supply enough drama in our lives.
But she is not alone. We have a 6-year old son who is determined to build a Lego boat that can float. Almost daily he fills the bathroom sink with water to test his latest creation. This is the same son who recently emerged from his fascination-with-elaborate-b00by-traps phase, during which he would stretch dental floss or twine around our entire home in intricate webs. Before that, he went through the free-fall-from-high-places phase. He would climb onto a counter or the back of the couch or the top bunk and then fall. Not jump but fall, like a tree being cut down. And he would stretch out his hands at the last possible moment to catch himself. Except for the times he forgot to stretch out his hands to catch himself and he landed on his face. Drama . . . we don’t need to try to add in some drama. Drama finds us.
We also have a 4-year old. I found him the other day standing in the bathroom sink. Standing in the sink. I’m still not sure why. This child likes to dump water (or spit it) onto the kitchen floor so he can splash through his self-created puddles. This is the take-gum-out-of-the-trash-and-chew-it kid, the lift-the-lid-on-the-washing-machine-and-toss-in-toys kid. He’s currently going through a teasing phase and seems to enjoy hearing his siblings scream at the top of their lungs. Drama . . . . we’ve got drama.
We have a 2-year old. Every home with a 2-year old has drama. My 2-year old likes to play with permanent markers. He enjoys drawing spots on his own body. He likes to play with my lipstick — rubbing it on his own face, mashing it down into the tube, coloring streaks on the carpet that resemble human blood. This child likes to stick coins in his mouth. He recently tried to change his own messy diaper. Ewwwwww. Drama . . . please! I’ve got drama coming out of my ears.
A couple Saturdays ago, the 4 year-old ran to tell us that his brothers were climbing into the “thing that drys the clothes” and trying to close the door. I haven’t seen my husband run that fast in years. He darted through the house, leaping over the dog and Legos and a doll without any arms or legs. Yanking one son from inside the cold dryer, he breathlessly explained why this choice was a dangerous one and how they could never, ever try this again. Drama wakes us up on Saturday mornings.
No, Lauren, we don’t need you to tell tall tales to bring drama to this house. We’re oozing drama here.
How about you? What drama is going on in your home?