Our four sons have numerous ways to entertain themselves. They have ESPN, basketball games on the driveway and when all else fails, they like to wrestle each other down to the ground for no apparent reason.
However, their favorite form of entertainment comes from picking on yours truly. They like to mess up my hair, put me in a bear hug until I get spitting mad and they really enjoy booby-trapping my office.
I suppose I have it coming as I relish in pulling a prank or two myself. I like to jump out of closets to scare the wits out of them and once even went so far as to replace the filling in their Oreos with toothpaste.
But now that they are all grown, they have become more creative in the pranks they play on their mother. Take for example the time they tied a rubber band around the spray nozzle on the kitchen sink and watched with glee as I gave myself a fully dressed shower by simply turning on the faucet.
Knowing they are how they are, you can imagine my chagrin when I realized our vehicle had an icon on the control panel that folded the headrests in the third row seat down with great force.
“Oh no,” I said to our youngest son, Charlie, who was sitting in the passenger seat.
“How long do you think it will take them to figure it out?” Charlie asked.
Being the smallest members of our family, the backseat is where Charlie and I spend our family vacations. Therefore, he was as nervous about the situation as I.
“Well,” I replied, “they are all away at college so we have some time.”
I suppose I’m to blame for having them wait in the car while I started my goodbye tour at a social engagement when the boys were home on Christmas break. One would think that a seasoned mother, such as I, would know that her sons would not be spending their time praying the rosary or discussing world peace.
No sir, for the 10 minutes it took me to get out to the car, those young whipper-snappers were in my cherished sedan pushing buttons and playing with the control panel.
Although I wasn’t there to witness it, I’m quite certain that exclamations of excitement and a series of high fives were passed around once they realized they had been blessed with a brand new form of pranking their mother, courtesy of the aforementioned icon.
“It’s about time you got out here,” one of them said as I climbed into the vehicle and prepared to fold myself into the tiny third row seat. I had barely gotten into position and hadn’t even buckled myself in before they touched the head rest icon and subsequently smacked me in the back of the head.
“That’s great!” our eldest and wise-cracking son, Vernon, exclaimed.
“Yeah,” I agreed, “that’s just rich. You got me, now let’s not do it again.”
They are all good boys, they really are. We raised them right, gave them a proper upbringing and always made them mind. That being said, they were not going to mind on that fateful evening. The temptation was far too great.
We had barely driven two blocks before the headrests recoiled and once more smacked me in the back of the old noggin.
Following a series of threats that involved, but were not limited to, taking away birthdays and cancelling cell phone plans, I concluded with a heartfelt, “and I mean it!”
Did they mind their mother this time, you might ask. Well, that is going to be a big fat no. It took them a while, but then the lure of it all was too much and I’ll be dogged if that dang headrest didn’t come down into the back of my cranium for a third time.
I won’t tell you exactly what followed, but I’ll you this, it wasn’t pretty.
Now that they are all back at their campus homes and far away from their loving mother, I’m sure they feel a little bad for picking on me.
They are really going to regret it when they have to take turns riding in the third row seat on our summer vacation.
Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.