I’ve been sitting on this story for awhile, mainly because I can’t believe it happened. If anyone dropped the F-Bomb in front of our sons, I figured it would either be my husband, his grandfather, my dad, or someone that most certainly was not me.
I was wrong.
The Monday after a conference, I found myself in a rush to finish up work, get the boys fed, and get out the door on time to have BigBrother to a baseball practice by five o’clock. I do not understand why our local youth leagues find five o’clock an acceptable time for practices; sometimes we even get stuck with a 4:30 practice. As a working parent whose partner works 24 on, 48 off, we sometimes luck out in that he can run the boys if I haven’t quite finished up my workday yet. This particular day did not fall into that happy space, and I rushed out the door with two little boys, two water bottles, an iced coffee for myself from my not-quite-a-Keurig, and my laptop and cell phone so I could finish work up at the baseball field.
We had just about ten minutes to make it to the middle of the city, which isn’t too bad. I should have gone the back way, and this experience caused me to use the back way from then on out, but I hadn’t yet learned my lesson. As such, I found myself coming down the hill into the factory section of our city right before five o’clock in the afternoon.
Quittin’ time, as it were.
A gentleman leaving one of the establishments that works for/with the fracking companies that have taken over our area found himself walking down the center line of the road. He wasn’t crossing the road and just happened to be centered on the line at that point in time as I came across the bridge and into the city limits. No, that would have been just fine. Instead, this gentleman was walking from his employer’s building to the convenience store down the street via the center line.
Ain’t nobody got time for that, buddy. I got a kid who needs to be at baseball practice in eight minutes and four more email to send.
It just so happened that my window was down.
It just so happened that as I came up next to him I momentarily forgot that my children sat behind me, buckled into their booster seats because safety ranks high on the scale of importance in this family.
It just so happened that as my head was next to his head for a brief second of 35mph, I said, “Get off the f@#$ing center line.”
And then I remembered my sons sat behind me. I did the Mom Cringe. Then I quickly evaluated the situation. The radio was turned up to a decent level. The two boys jabbered incessantly since we left the house. There was a chance, however slim, that they didn’t hear their mother drop the f-bomb.
A chance. A hope. A miracle.
I don’t think I got to blink an eye before LittleBrother says, “Mommy, you said the F-word.”
Hold your horses, KINDERGARTENER*.
“Hey, LittleBrother, how do you know the F-word,” I flipped it back onto him, because not being in trouble is more my favorite than being in trouble.
“Well, a kid said it to the Principal and he had to go to the office. I didn’t know what he said, so I asked another kid what he said, and he told me what the f-word was.”
GOOD JOB, KINDERGARTEN.
After I stopped the laugh I wanted to laugh from bubbling out of my mouth, I asked BigBrother, “Do you know what the f-word is?”
“Oh, no. I only know innocent words like shut up and stupid.”
This is a blatant lie, as my husband’s grandfather has graciously exposed our sons to any number of colorful words over the years. But, whatever. BigBrother is also a rule-follower and knows certain words don’t belong in school. I didn’t feel very worried about it.
Still, I launched into a not-quite-hysterical discussion about how certain words can hurt others’ feelings and how we really shouldn’t say them. I apologized for using the word to the
f@#$ing idiot man walking in the center of the road. I let them know that if they hear a word they don’t understand or recognize, they can always bring the word home to me and their Daddy and we’ll discuss it at home. I told them that talking about the “bad” words at school, even if you’re just asking your friend what it was or what it means, could get you in trouble if a teacher overhears the conversation without context.
They asked a number of questions. I answered them to the best of my ability without laughing so stinking hard. And then we arrived at the baseball field. On time. Despite the guy walking in the middle of the road, so my F-Bomb felt totally unwarranted. Classy, Jenna. Real classy.
So far, neither boy has dropped the F-Bomb to a friend, to a grandparent, in school, or to us. Which is more than I can say for myself since mid-May. Ahem.
* = (Yes, this happened near the end of Kindergarten; so deep my shame that I could not tell you about it until now.)