Until this past year (last December to be specific), the world of texting was akin to my familiarity with the pop music in the early nineties: I had heard about it, I knew most everyone else was way more familiar than I, but I was happy in my "vintage" lifestyle with it's early-eighties easy listening artists. Up until my cellular device became something smaller than the size of my femur, actually calling a person when I wanted a quick answer was preferable to me, as opposed to training my fingers to appear schizophrenic upon hitting the surface of a cellular device. While I have succumbed, there are a few shortcuts I will no way, no how compromise on. Namely, abbreviations and acronyms. I cannot bring myself to dabble in the widely-accepted text messaging shorthand. I already feel like I  have been compromised by sending so few HANDWRITTEN notes (on heavy card stock, in ink, with a stamp in the corner and a sticker by the address), this would push me over the edge. I do not "do" LOL, SMH, ROLF (which always makes me visualize someone vomiting all over the floor) or 2G2BT. {This is not a point of judgement, just personal preference}.

As my mother always said: "A wise woman changes her mind" (and very convenient times for her) and tonight, for you my dear reader friend, I am not only CREATING but encouraging the use of a new acronym for anyone out there who has found themselves in the following scenario:

It is any day of the week. It is with any number of children you currently possess or are under guardianship for. It could be a play date, a run to the grocery store, a visit to Great-Aunt Hildegard at the Convalescent Home next town over or dinner at the home of friends you haven't seen in too long. Any where, and any time in which the children in  your charge begin to show signs known to you that should send big, crimson-red flags a 'flying in your head.

Since I have five relatively close together {thus a mob mentality can easily overtake them}, some could argue I am a tad bit harried and hasty in my approach as I sense the beginnings of when:

The Wheels Are Starting To Fall Off

It might, never mind. It WILL be earlier than you expected or wanted it to be. You will probably be in midway through the most interrupted adult conversation that you have had the entire time. There might be blue skies overhead, long naps that had already been taken in preparation for the outing, expert pre-planning on every single last darn scenario known to Motherkind. And yet.

There is the low rumblings of discontent. Vertebra's start to arch, tears spring up way too easily, complaining registers on the Richter scale and the general sense that all heck could break loose in the very near future are all clear indicators of when TWSTFO. For the health and mental safety of all involved, make haste (not excuses)!

This is no time to eek out a little more time to enjoy the moment, to stand your ground, to negotiate with the restless natives. For the sake of all that's good and holy, get your fanny moving and set the gears in motion for making a stealth and speedy exit. Should you not, here is what will happen: You will collapse in the seat of your vehicle (after a loud, public display of total-lack-of-control parenting skills), with a hoarse voice (it is a struggle for the throat to execute a firm tone in whisper-form) and you wonder yet again how this is all worth the marathon-like energy it requires. You will vow this time to never go out again until each child reaches their 18th birthday. Until the magic eraser we call "time" leaves us forgetful enough to scribble another such event on the calendar.

In order to prevent such disastrous endings to what started out as a manageable, and even enjoyable outing with young children, my husband and I have often given each other the look and when questioned on it we simply say, "Sorry. Our time here is done. The wheels are starting to fall off and it's best we hit the road". It is a disservice, whether the other party realizes it or not at the time, to linger. To linger is to invite a long term nervous tick for yourself, a faltering example of leadership for your offspring and a polite leeriness from anyone witnessing the debacle to ever invite your family over again for a very, very long time.

Gratefully, while they may be silently stunned we didn't even finish dessert when it has happened, our friends have been gracious. This is not the season in life for us where we linger over dessert and coffee, while our children play board games in the adjoining den, and we must not expect it to be.  In acceptance, therein lies peace.

In learning to pack up and ship out before misery sets in we have preserved at least a shred or two of sanity and eliminated guilt for our exasperated response to the Misery Circus that is worn-out children who have reached their limit. If we push our children to the brink because we want or think the visit/occasion should last longer, or we feel it is impolite, we deserve what we have coming to us (in part, anyway).

There is, truly, so very little I know about this ambiguous and noble role of parenting. Consider this a hastily scribbled-down note thrown to you from the trenches, telling you that when you need to, do not be afraid to take actions as you see TWASTFO.

I have plenty of experience and still, yet much to learn in this matter. Trust me.
This picture was taken only last week and already two wheels were bouncing down the gravel lane behind me.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: *I would suggest you not actually try and SAY the acronym aloud in explanation to an unsuspecting bystander, as it does not roll of the tongue in a natural way. Especially avoid shouting it repeatedly as a one word signal in order to catch your spouse or friend's attention across the park playground. It could call into question your mental health, and I would hate to feel responsible if I heard you were ushered off to the Land of White Suits. Use it carefully, how you prefer, at your discretion}.


momstheword said…
Oh yes, I remember it well, lol! That moment where you know a meltdown is imminent and that you'd better get the heck out of there asap.

As for texting, I am getting better at it. I held out as long as I could but we all went to Florida and it was the only way we could communicate and find one another sometimes (too loud sometimes to hear anyone).

Once I meant to ask my son where he was at and I asked him "Where King Tut?"

He called me and said "Ummmm, mom....did you want to talk to me or something?" Lol!

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