The Election May Hang On This, You Know

Categorized as  Goshen News column

Last week our pastor spoke on the need for unity in the church. As if to underscore the importance of oneness in our lives, our two eldest launched into the week with an astonishing display of disunity over the bathroom sink as they prepared for school. Two boys sharing an itty-bitty sink and a mirror the size of a postage stamp is a recipe for disaster. The one brushing his teeth felt that his molars should take preeminence while the one gelling his hair was certain that his coiffure was the bigger deal. It all went downhill when the Molar party slugged the Hairdo party, who then hit back even harder. Molars left for school in such a huff that he forgot two homework assignments, forcing a trip to school by his mother, who by then was ready to take them both to the woodshed.

I must admit, sharing a teeny lavatory is a challenge. I have personally seen a Yugo that is bigger than our bathroom. One adult can navigate just fine, but throw in two adults on a schedule, and things can run to ground pretty fast. It requires very careful choreography, which we have finally mastered after nearly six years. If he shifts sideways and holds to the count of three before stepping to the right, I can dodge to the left and shimmy past if I am angled just right. If you hit it wrong, you may end up with the corner of the sink poking into your left kidney. It’s risky business.

The logistics got even trickier when I was pregnant. Rule number one, as any woman knows, is, “Don’t get between a pregnant lady and the bathroom. Ever.” There was a close call one day when my husband was brushing his teeth at the sink. In my rush to be seated, I nearly got wedged between him and the wall. Only some deft last-second footwork on his part saved us from an embarrassing log jam that would have required the boys’ assistance to break us free.

Every Sunday finds us jockeying for position at the sink. “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us,” I mutter, carefully maneuvering the curling iron while he spits toothpaste, narrowly missing my right shoulder. Goodwill is in short supply when I have to bob and weave to apply makeup because someone else is blow drying his hair – without bobbing and weaving. My secret fear is that one day he will sneeze or twitch at a critical moment, such as when I’m applying mascara, and I’ll end up sticking the wand in my eye. I hope he’s ready to pay for a glass one.

Having boys has certainly been eye opening for me. One thing I’ve learned is that boys and girls settle disputes very differently. Girls don’t wrestle. I know. I am one. I also have a sister, and while we used to fight, we certainly didn’t roll on the floor, pounding one another into powder. There was some slapping, however, and once in awhile some of her DNA got caught under my fingernails while she got chunks of my forearm under hers.

Boys, on the other hand, prefer brute force and weaponry. There was, for example, a recent incident involving the senior, a phone call from a girl, and an annoying younger brother. When the younger sibling followed him around making obnoxious noises and eavesdropping, the senior resorted to venomous facial expressions and a few well-placed whacks, sending the pest scurrying. Fearing further retaliation, the agitator dove into the shower, thinking that he surely wouldn’t be followed there. Just in case, he took a baseball bat in with him, which, for the record, he did not use.

In the interest of finding a workable solution, I would like to issue a challenge to the current crop of presidential contenders. Forget Mideast peace – I’m talking the big leagues here. If they would like to prove their diplomatic prowess and ability to work with thugs and ruffians, let’s see if one of them can broker a permanent ceasefire at our address. Surely it would be child’s play to negotiate peace in the giant sandbox overseas after that.

Who knows? This may swing the undecideds. An anxious nation is watching.

Rhonda Schrock

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