By the time you read this, you made your way down a mountain.
Welcome home! You’re alive!
You have stories to tell, of course. You have real mountain man stories to tell around suburbia’s fire pit of cushioned chairs and small decorative pillows. You found a handgun on a trail in the wilderness. You returned to camp greeted by two sets of eyes staring at you. The scratches on your face are from walking into trees in a pitch black downpour. Lightening cracked and exploded trees in front of your eyes. Temperatures dropped to below freezing. You only had a small fire to dry out your cold, soaking clothes. The earth shook below your feet when an elk bugled nearby.
While you lost the battle to bring home an elk, you still lived to tell the tales of your stay under the care of mother nature.
Oh, I have tales too.
I don’t want you to miss out on our adventures. Like how the dog’s antibiotics disappeared one morning. I figured I’d come across it at some point. I did. It was busted open in the backyard. For every pill that was missing, a diarrhea pile was in its place.
Or how Kate put my back against a wall and insisted on shaving her legs. Scott, she chased me around the house with a razor, screaming, “look at my hairy legs!”
But those are mere bedtime stories. I can handle being a solo parent. I reign when you’re away. I reign when you’re home too.
Scott, sit down. I have story for you. It involves my poor decision-making skills. You were indeed heroic in your efforts to provide the family with meat. You faced a hell most people would never attempt. I faced a hell too and I need a hug.
It all begins on your first night on the mountain.
While you were trying to figure out how to hang food in a tree and rub two sticks together to make fire, I was standing in our kitchen. I debated whether to treat my solo parent self to ice cream or wine. And do you know what I picked? Of course you do because you’ve been sleeping with me for 12-13-14 years now. Ice cream, of course.
And all mothers around the world gasp.
On that first night, the stars were 11,000 feet closer than you’ve ever seen them. You saw a sight that’s rarely photographed well. Mother Nature is a beautiful woman, Scott. And you of all people know behind every beautiful woman, there is a little bit of psycho.
You struggled to breathe. The hike up left you aching. The temperature dropped to below freezing that night. You didn’t sleep much because the cold made its way into your sleeping bag. Cuddling with Hunter for warmth wasn’t an option because you would never hear the end of the *Brokeback Mountain* coughing from me when you got home. The only thing on your mind that kept you going was your prize – a bull elk.
11,000 feet down and 842 miles to the east, I sprawled out in the middle of our king size bed with a small dish of my favorite ice cream, Baskin-Robbins mint chocolate chip. I was rounding up the last scoop when I felt it – crunch.
Well, that’s a big chocolate chip.
Crunch. It wasn’t chocolate. It was poor decision-making.
My tongue pushed the hard piece forward and my fingers pulled it out. I examined it under my bedside lamp.
It can’t be. But it is.
The fingernail most likely belonging to a member of that sweet, Middle Eastern family that owns the Baskin-Robbins. I mean, other than in between my molars, I don’t know where this fingernail has been. They probably scrubbed shampoo onto their head with this fingernail. Or stroked their spouses back. Or stroked their spouses oh God. Or maybe it was the teenager. Maybe the teen picked a huge booger with this nail. Maybe they put in contacts that morning or popped a zit. Everything this person touched was in my mouth, ground down with my back molars and touched by my tongue.
There is no doubt this fingernail wiped its own ass, Scott. Everyone wipes their own ass. A member from the sweet, Middle Eastern family’s ass was inside my moist mouth – oh yes, I said moist.
I learned an important lesson while you were sleeping on a mountain, Scott.
Wine doesn’t have fingernails.