Life is never easy, it is a series of hardships and triumphs in constant test of ones will and determination. As a man goes on with his life he meets challenges head on and as more come his way there is less and less to fear in life. That is until his mother-in-law hands him a tiny, folded paper towel.
Now that I work third shift it is my duty to pick up the boy every afternoon whenever I drag my bones out of bed. Some days it's earlier than others depending on many variables; how much I actually slept, if the sun is shining brightly, how often my phone rings, how much I had to drink, and what I had to drink.
Most days it's around 4 to 5.
A few weeks back I rolled up on the in-laws compound as usual. This day I succumed to my immigrant MIL's seemingly incessant crusade to get me to sit down and eat something. It's constant. Never is there a single offer and polite decline of the offer. The offer is repeated again and again until I either eat or grab the car seat and flee while she chases me with a soup ladle and loaf of bread.
Most times I am hungry and want to eat, but I can't do what she says every time out of principle and my own survival instincts. Much like her daughter my MIL will continue to order me around if she senses weakness, so I have GOT to day no once in a while. My dad once told me that as soon as a woman knows you'll lay down and do what she wants eventually the barage of clucking will never cease. Something like that, I think.
Once at the table normal conversation was bandied about, talk of the boy and how long he napped, who stopped by for coffee, her mangled foot that was run over by a Serbian taxi and what the boy had eaten. It was as if she was looking for an in to bring up the folded up paper towel sitting on the table to my left.
Now that she had the real topic she wanted to discuss she began to slowly unfold the towel and explain,
"I find this this morning. Vladimir was crying and crying all morning. I don't know what's wrong with him! I feed him, give him milk, try to walk him around, nothing. So I change his diaper. He had big shit in there and then I find this".
At this point she is presenting me with a small green plastic strand, roughly the size of a blade of grass, that had previously been folded in the paper towel.
"What that is? He obviously ate it, ate it from the floor at your house."
While staring blankly at the mystery sphyncter blocker an image of my MIL sifting through soft baby poo and picking this thing out of it was impossible to shake. A very easy and impossible scenario to believe at the same time.
"My guess is that it came from the fake Christmas tree. We took it down last week. Those things go everywhere you know? Piece of crap."
"What is Milena problem? Vacuum cleaner broken or what, you tell her to clean the floor. Vlad puts everything in his mouth, everything!'
All I could do was agree that her daughter is a terrible house keeper and must be trying to murder our son.
With that, I wolfed down the last of my soup, scooped up the boy and was heading to the door when she said,
"Here, don't forget this. Take it, show Milena and tell her where I found it."
This time I did as I was told and showed it to the wife, and laugh any harder she could not.
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