Copyright 2008 by Patti Iverson
“Maggie! Get down from the top of the refrigerator right now!”
“Now where is that little imp? Oh? You found her in the baptistery?”
“Please don’t kick my baby out of the nursery. She’s not even two.”
“But Mrs. Iverson, she’s crawling out onto the roof of our 3rd story building and we can’t handle it. She’s gonna be one of those that likes to ‘color outside the lines’, I can tell you that now…” Sigh… What now? Why me?
These were all familiar statements out of this weary mom’s mouth. My daughter’s pixie blue eyes gleamingly glittered with delight. Her rosebud mouth was always raised in a special smile as if she communicated with angels. Folks called her Miss Personality and loved looking at her bouncy blonde body. But Maggie was a handful. This is her story, my “mom” story, to give all you despairing mom’s hope, and for those of you grandmas raising the wee ones. Read it and weep through your giggles because I know you can relate and are ready to “pack it in” occasionally. Being a stay at home nurturer is the hardest job on this planet.
We purchased a special harness to corral our wee daughter in her bed. Forget the crib. She continually climbed out and hurt herself at eight months old. Maggie would push her twin bed over to the window, shimmy up like a slithery eel, and out she’d go after jimmying the lock.
My friend volunteered to baby-sit while we went on a much-needed vacation. Who knew she’d scale the ancient armoire, down an entire bottle of iron pills, and need her stomach pumped?
Scary trips to the emergency room seemed to be the norm. Six times before she was even one year old.
“Here come the Iversons again!” We usually didn’t even have to pay the co-pay because they immediately popped us into a room to take care of the problem at hand. ‘Twas a sad day when Maggie stuffed 16 raisins up her nose. The dear doctor took his long, steely tweezers and began pulling out the swollen fruit that was blocking her breathing. Yuck!
One summer day a knock on the door startled me during my “moving in,” muddled madness. A strange man stood there with my tiny 15 month old darlin’ daughter, naked as a jaybird, saying,
“Is this little one yours? Folks at the corner said she might belong to the new people who just moved into this place. I sell Kirby vacuums. Might you be interested?”
Oh sheesh! My delight in a fenced backyard evaporated. It wasn’t a tall enough fence to corral the happy little wanderer. Drats! Not to mention my embarrassment at the state she was in—or wasn’t. And no, I did NOT buy a vacuum! If I had I would have vacuumed that moppet right up with the dust flying from my embarrassment and temper.
Maggie fell while swinging from the chandelier one evening. That bloody mess called her chin nearly brought me to my knees. In prayer, not the sight of blood. The closest hospital we took her to wouldn’t take her because she was too smiley and happy. They sent us to our regular hospital 30 minutes away. Stitches required, of course. No medical treatment took care of her head when she dumped India ink all over her “almost” bald pate, or when she had her brother paint green curls on her head before the blonde tresses grew in, or when a hematoma made her look like a cyclop because she whacked her head on the tire swing.
One quiet evening she was supposed to be abed while Daddy babysat, she surprised him and the trustees of the church by coming out announcing to the gentlemen,” I have an infection in my penis, Daddy”, while holding up her cute nightie for all to see. It was difficult being proud of her large vocabulary while still so young, arrrrgh! Randy said he’d never baby-sit her again nor have a meeting at our house. He lied. He did.
When our little family was enjoying nature camping along the Umpqua River in Oregon, I lost Maggie. Randy and son Peter had gone fishin’. Maggie cavorted in her playpen while I delighted myself in a novel. I only looked away for a few minutes but the playpen was empty. The entire campground and rangers were all searching far and wide for a little toddler. Her whiny voice answered brother Pete’s cry,
“Here I am. I went potty all by myself. I’m a good, big girl now!”
She was in the men’s outhouse. I can’t bring myself to contemplate what woulda, coulda, shoulda been… Maggie’s guardian angels have done a magnificent job guarding her, from herself as well as a weary mom who many times wanted to bop her!
My magnificent Maggie, age 29, is a beautiful, godly, married lady now. She loves the Lord and plays piano as if it’s for His ears alone. She’s been involved with young, unwed mammas and jailed women. She uses her gift of hospitality in her home, as well as accompanies musicals, conducts, and directs shows, was Manager for a local Performing Arts Center, serves her community, teaches piano, and is back at the university obtaining a degree in Theatre to accompany her Music Performance degree. (whew-I’m tired!).
Young mamas, there IS hope! Don’t despair and don’t give up! Life DOES get easier! Busy little bees like Maggie grow up and charm your socks off. They also become grandmas themselves. Yes! At age 28. But that’s another story in itself, and yes, God DOES have a sense of humor and so should we…
I’m delighted to be her mom, sharing part of her heart and life, and wouldn’t have changed one magnificent Maggie moment for anything in the world! And now I’m great grandma to little Keagan. Life is good.
Patti Iverson lives in Medford, Oregon, along
with her retired Fire Chief husband of 35 years and his 92-year-old
mother. Patti is happiest when she’s writing, doing
calligraphy, being Rainbow Clown, or Mrs. Claus for all of God’s
in the subject line of the message.)