Once upon a blog, I mentioned that I should've been a therapist. One skill that I would try to empower people with is teaching them how to be a good listener. Communicating is really effective when people learn how to listen. Let me assure you that I am about to once again prove how awesome my advice usually is, and what has happened when people have actually listened to me.
Once Brent offered to make me dinner when I wasn't feeling well. (Okay, I had cramps, and he was sick of hearing me whine.) I asked him to make me nachos with chili. I meant chips, with chili on them, and cheese. Brent brought me a bowl of chili, and a plate of chips covered with melted cheese. He was a good listener.
I taught sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in Wednesday night Bible school at church for a solid year. Those kids drove me batty. Every week they were pretty much always out of hand. Once I told the class they should "learn to hold your tongue". One kid reached into his mouth and grabbed his tongue. He was a good listener.
In my single days I used to always tell my friends to "call anytime". Wouldn't you know it, I would get phone calls between two and five in the morning almost every weekend? They were good listeners.
This one takes the cake, though. For sure. My sister is the best listener out of them all.
I don't know how old we were, but we were definitely much much younger than we are today. I want to say I was about 9 which would put her at about 6. Mom had taken us to Santa Maria for the day as she had some errands to run. We had just come from the mall where I had picked up some perfume-scented moist towelettes. Keep that piece of info filed in the back of your brain. I had big plans to use them in the days ahead whenever I felt the need to smell like I was 29 instead of only 9. She (Mom) had run in to the eye doctor (or something, I don't recall) and left my sister and me in the car. This was before the days of the Green Bean Chrysler Newport, when my parents drove a smokin-hot 1967 camaro, that my grandpa bought new in 1966. It was an amazing car, and one we always had to be careful inside, so as not to ruin the upholstery, etc.
The two of us were trying to keep ourselves entertained in the car as it sat in the parking lot. I was most likely dreaming of boys, and my sister was squirming around in the backseat. She started pestering me. "I have to go to the bathroom."
"Hold it." (I was such a compassionate older sister.)
"Valerie, I can't, I need to go."
"You can't. Just wait until Mom comes back." (I'm telling you, I exude mercy.)
"Valerie, I really need to go. I have to go to the bathroom."
By this point I was annoyed she was interrupting my daydreaming. I was definitely irritated and replied, "JUST GO!"
Mind you, by that comment, I meant get out of the car, walk into the nearest building, and use their facilities.
"*gasp* I think I went too much."
I thought she was joking. I asked, "What?" and turned around.
"I think I went too much."
There in the middle of the backseat was a puddle. A puddle of pee. My sister, well, just went. There in the car, she just went. She thought she could just relieve the pressure a bit. Take the edge off. SHE PEED IN THE CAR.
Begin panic mode.
Mom was not someone we ever enjoyed making angry, and I knew that having my sister pee in the backseat of the car would send her over the top. We had no napkins, no Kleenex - nothing to clean it up with.
I reached in to my purse and pulled out the packaged perfume-scented moist towelettes. We cleaned the puddle, and pretended nothing happened. I was so angry that I wouldn't get to smell grown-up later, because I had to clean up after my sister who just used the backseat for a toilet.
"Here comes Mom. Act natural."
Mom came back to the car and hesitated once she got inside. "Why does it smell like perfume in here?"
I tried to cover for my sister. I told Mom I wanted to use my perfume wipes. However, Veronica never could get away with much as a little girl. Her conscience always got the best of her. "I had to potty and Valerie told me to just go and so I did and I went too much and we had to clean it with her perfume wipes!"
She's right, I did tell her that. She was a good listener.