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Buckets

Rachel BarlowThe sweat from a few hours of cleaning was beginning to cool as they collapsed on the green recliner sofa.

“All I want to do,” said Dad, “is keep my feet up for the rest of the night. What’s on?” Mom handed him the remote and put her own foot rest up.

“Nothing sounds good. How about a few episode of ‘That Trite Sitcom’ for background noise, ” she suggested.

Dad reclined all the way back, grunting his approval. Mom clicked to the play-it-now channel and closed her eye as the opening credits played. She pulled a nearby superhero-themed fleece blanket over her legs, vaguely registering that a heavier, living blanket was wrapping around her remote-control arm.

“Oh, I love this show,” chirped 8-year-old  Thing-Two. He adjusted his red satin cape so that it covered Mom and himself. He then spent most of the progrm squirming as he tried to find the ultimate snuggle position. Mom decided it was nice that her youngest child was still young enough to have not put away childish things like cuddling. Thing-Two was still trying every hug technique known to science as Mom began to drift off.

“Awe,” Thing-Two sighed. “Mom, mom! Look at that baby.” He patted Mom’s arm gently and then firmly until she  opened her eyes. “Isn’t he cute?” Thing-Two gestured at the TV.

“Very cute,” Mom mumbled and closed her eyes again.

“I want to be a dad someday,” Thing-Two said, wrapping Mom’s arm around himself.

“Someday,” said Mom, “you’ll be a great dad, Buddy.”

illustration“Yeah, I can’t wait,” said Thing-Two. “It’s number 4 on my bucket list.” Mom’s eyes opened wide. She twisted her head to look at Thing-Two’s face and saw Dad had focused his attention on their son.

“You have a bucket list?” Mom asked.

“Of course,” answered Thing-Two.  “I’ve been working on it for years.  I want to grow up and marry a sweet girl and be a dad and dance and have a…”

“How do you now what a bucket list is?” Mom interrupted.

“I’ve always known about them,” he answered. “Don’t you have a bucket list, Mom?”

Dad was listening quietly and smiled at Mom.

“Well, I’ve heard of them, and I could start one,” she stammered. “But we’ve done a lot of bucket stuff.” She looked at Dad and shrugged, hoping he would have something to add.

Thing-Two looked into Mom’s eyes. He was silent for a few minutes, inspecting her  face.

“Mommy, you really ought to have a bucket list,” he said. He squirmed to face the TV and see the baby again.

“Otherwise you might spend the rest of your life doing nothing but cleaning and siting on the couch.”

— Rachel Barlow

Blogger Rachel Barlow describes herself as “a midlife crisis waiting to happen, closet nomad and middle-aged work-at-home-mother of two.” Her life is “wrapped up in peanut butter sandwiches, fat (sometimes losing it), bills and blogging (her way) to sanity.”

Reflections of Erma