night secrets

‘It’s not me who can’t keep a secret. It’s the people I tell that can’t.’

– Abraham Lincoln

‘I am so tired!’ The Mother said, flopping on the chair opposite me.

‘Why? What happened?’ I mumbled, my mouth filled with shepherd’s pie.

‘I was so worried about some things at work, and couldn’t sleep last night! So I got up around 1am, and ate some ice-cream, straight from the tub. First time I’ve ever done that.’ She sighed.

‘You ate ice-cream from the… wait, is this my Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby we’re talking about?’ I asked, narrowing my eyes at her. After this morning’s run, I came home looking forward to eating some ice-cream but found only a spoonful left.

‘Well, it was the only tub opened…’ she looked sheepishly at me.

‘It was mine!’ I wailed. ‘There are two other tubs of ice-cream in the freezer! Why didn’t you take those?’

‘I don’t know. That tub just looked the most attractive,’ she laughed. ‘Well, don’t blame me, blame my work!’

Right. That is going to help.

‘We’ve been having midnight snacks too!’ the little girl piped up.

‘Yeah! We come out when everyone is sleeping to eat chocolates,’ the little boy added.

‘And last night, we saw Grandma, but we pretended to be bags on the floor and sat very still…’ the little girl continued. ‘It was so funny. Grandma didn’t see us!’

‘I thought something was odd,’ the Mother answered. ‘I saw two unusually big bags on the floor but I was too wrapped up in my ice-cream think anything… so it was you two!’

‘Chocolates? Midnight snack? What is going on with everyone and food?’ I asked, as everyone laughed.

I chided the two little ones although secretly, deep inside, I was a little thrilled at their ingenuity and ability to hide, while avoiding the adults. They won’t know I’m proud of them though. I’m their parent. I have an image to upkeep.

‘You’re one to talk though,’ The Mother said after they had gone into the bedroom. ‘You were always sneaking off in the middle of the night to parties that I’d specifically forbidden you to attend. Remember the time I locked you out of the house?’

I remembered.

‘And the time you got your belly ring?’ The Mother continued, ‘But I found out anyway?’

I chuckled. It was funny.

‘So the little ones… they’re just following the footsteps of their parent, eh?’ The Husband sniggered.

‘Yeah, like the time you drank up your dad’s liquor in the house and filled the bottles with water?’ I said to him.

‘Ah… yeah, something like that,’ he said before hurriedly excusing himself to check on the kids.

Family secrets.

They make for great stories. The only scary thing is wondering what we pass on down to the next generation. It’s not what we teach that influences our loved ones but what we do and keep hidden that speaks the loudest. I looked at the children as they slept in their beds and wondered…

How will my personal secrets one day become walking, living, breathing stories… as lived by them?

It’s a scary thought.