It seemed like every other day, one of us kids were breaking something, forgetting to turn off something, or not cleaning up behind ourself. When my Mom would inquire of us as to who was responsible, all of us would respond collectively or individually, “It wasn’t me!”. My Mom would get frustrated and say, “Well, it must have been a ghost!”. I don’t think any of us were purposely lying to her, I just think that among her ten kids, we really didn’t know who was responsible. Who was the last one out of the room and didn’t turn off the television? None of us were paying attention. Who left the light on? Don’t know! The milk never seemed to return to the fridge, but none of us were the last one to get it out. I remember once my Mom asked who broke the Iron. Well, I had been playing with a ball downstairs and I did knock over the Iron, but so did my brother earlier in the day. I assumed it was him. It wasn’t me! Of course my brother didn’t think he was “the one”. It really seemed that the house was “haunted”. A ghost really was responsible for all the “misdeeds” that were happening. As a kid I was fine with “Casper” taking the rap!
To my Mom’s credit,, even though she could have lost her temper with us, she too was fine with using “Casper” as the fall guy. And I guess that is what I most remember and cherish about the most repetitive question of “Who done it?” It was the manner in which the response was handled by my Mom. She had every right to be mad, or even accusatory, but she wasn’t. She wouldn’t lose her temper and create bad feelings in the home, for sake of an iron, the milk, or the lights. And she could have! Some might even say, “She should have” in order to have taught us ten kids the principle of accountability. Well, maybe, but, looking back, I think she handled it best by throwing “Casper” under the bus. I learned a lot from how my Mother handled stress and pressure. She knew that having an atmosphere of love, instead of contention, was more important than “sweating over the small stuff”. And most of what happens on a daily basis is “small stuff”.
So, today I pass along to you a great gem that I learned from my loving Mom; don’t make a big deal out of small things because more often than not, you make matters so much worse! If you have kids, they will try your patience almost every day. But, on days like that, do like my Mom so often did, make an enemy of “Casper” and love your kids! Your kids will always remember the spirit that enveloped their childhood home and no matter how many times you throw Casper “under the bus”, he will forgive you because after all, he is forever “friendly”.