Magic Elixir #SOL22 17/31

I sneak quietly down the carpeted stairs into the basement and open the door to the bathroom. Creak. I freeze for a breath, then carefully close the door. Creak. I wince. I’m trying not to wake my eleven year old who is sleeping in the room next door. It doesn’t work: his tired face peers at me mere moments later.

“Hi, Mom,” he mumbles. “What time is it?”
Late. “Go back to sleep,” I murmur. “It’s just me.”
“I know.” He pauses. “But that door is so creepy.”
“Creaky?”
“No, creepy. It sounds like a haunted house. We need WD-40.”
“Remind me tomorrow,” I say as I take him back to his bedroom, tuck him back under his sheets and kiss his forehead.

In the morning, I find the tool chest in the corner of the pantry, then sift through hammers and pliers, twine and tape until the distinctive blue bottle appears.

Downstairs, I spray the door hinges and carefully wipe away the excess. When I test the door, it closes noiselessly. I feel the brief shimmer of domestic victory and catch the edge of a thought: armed with her magic elixir, Mom slays nightmares.

If only I could so easily vanquish other problems.

Oh, my love, my sleepless child, I’m not yet ready to tell you how much of our world is held together with duct tape and dental floss, WD-40 and willpower. You’ll know; you’ll know. For tonight, at least, let’s pretend that WD-40 will always keep the monsters away.

18 thoughts on “Magic Elixir #SOL22 17/31

  1. This was a good story, but then you blew me away with “I’m not yet ready to tell you how much of our world is held together with duct tape and dental floss, WD-40 and willpower.” How as parents we always just fly by the seat of our pants, hoping we do more good than harm.

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  2. So much of this world. Too much of this world. Thank you for this. And congratulations on not finding mice in the toolbox (which happened to my spouse yesterday)

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  3. This is so well-told, from the misunderstanding of creepy/creaky to the end, with what’s (barely) holding the world together. I feel like everything at school – from systems and structures to actual equipment and emotions – is held together with paper clips and rubber bands. The machinery keeps on grinding…meanwhile, Mom with the Magic Elixir, keep on slaying the monsters you can. ❤

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  4. Sweet victory. I recently found some random spray bottle in our linen closet to use as “ghost spray” when Adi was suddenly concerned about ghosts coming in through her windows. If only all solutions came in a spray bottle!

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  5. There are so many different emotions in this little slice. You took us from amused to sad to triumphant to wistful (?). Not sure what to call that realization that we’re handing off a fragile or unstable world to our children, and we don’t want them to know yet. Yeah. That final paragraph is a tough one. I really like the line in one of your replies when you said, “So much of my life feels held together by luck and love.” Fortunately the love part has more magic power than WD-40 and duct tape.

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  6. It’s hard to figure out what to say after reading all the comments above that already say so much. I think the best slices move from the immediate to the profound. Yours surely does that.

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  7. Given that 8th graders and I lately have been thinking about and connecting between symbols and themes in what we’re reading, this slice definitely qualifies for the mentor-text treatment,

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  8. Yes, I agree with all the above comments, especially the one about moving from the ordinary everyday to the world overview, all woven together with humour. Amazing and heartwarming how our kids hold us in such high esteem!

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