A parent cannot truly comprehend how dramatically life with children can change until the inevitable day an alien or two shows up on their doorstep. Gracious, for my husband and I, life was downright dull and complacent until our girls hit the magical age of thirteen. That was when, without any forewarning whatsoever, aliens took up residence in our house.
The first alien was 5’5” tall and answered to our oldest child’s name. It even took showers at the same time she did and enjoyed the same favorite foods. It was uncanny how much this alien dressed exactly like our daughter. And, it knew how to toss that golden brown mane back with just the right touch of come-hither. But, we knew it wasn’t our daughter. Our daughter was kind, gracious and compliant, loving, grumbled occasionally, and still enjoyed spending time with the family.
But the alien, oh my, what a rude shock awaited us! Mistaking the alien at first for my daughter, I told it to clean the kitchen after dinner. The alien pierced me with a black look, and haughtily informed me its favorite television show was coming on, and it would do the dishes after the show. Confused, I stared at her. What had happened to my daughter? This was when I first began to suspect my daughter had been taken over by an alien.
“No, you will do the dishes right now. Please also make sure you clean the sink and rinse the dishrag out.”
Trumpeting, an elephant stomped its way into our kitchen. First aliens, now ferocious, wild animals. I immediately grabbed my binoculars, aimed them at the kitchen and sighed in relief when all that came into focus was what I thought was my daughter.
Crash, clatter, bang. My hand flew to my mouth as what was obviously a ghost caused a green plastic glass to hover mysteriously in mid-air, and then whiz from one side of my kitchen to the other, landing with a loud splop! in the sink, spraying dirty soapy water all over my nice clean floor. While I was still trying to recover from this fright, there was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I suddenly realized that a foreigner had also come to visit, as the speech emanating from the kitchen turned unintelligible. Aliens, wild animals, ghosts, and foreigners. Whatever could be next?
Shaking my head in disbelief, I spoke loudly to my husband who was reclining in the living room while watching The Discovery Channel. We attempted to carry on a civilized conversation, but were constantly overridden by the alien, elephant, ghost and foreigner that remained crowded in my kitchen.
Hoping to escape from the mayhem reigning in my home, I pushed away from the table and headed down the short hallway to the bathroom. Closing the door, I was just getting about my business when thunder rattled the very hinges of the door. Startled, I racked my brain, and was certain I had heard nothing in the weather report of thunderstorms in the area. Uneasy, I soon settled down again when, my gosh, there was that thunder again. Belatedly, I realized someone wanted in--badly. Calling out that I would be done in a minute, I tried to breathe myself into a calming, meditative state. Hee, hee, whoo. Hee, hee, whoo. The pattern seemed somehow familiar, appropriate. When had I last breathed that way?
Boom, boom, rattle, rattle. Would it never quit?
“All right, all right. I’m done, just wait a minute.” I opened the door and stared, nonplussed, for in front of me stood a second, very cross alien. This one was shorter, and was wearing a top I was certain I had never approved of. Wondering at the depth of my luck, I quickly jumped back as this 13-year-old alien rushed past me, stepping on my toes without so much as a “by your leave,” or an “excuse me.” It was fiercely mumbling about bad hair days and missing gel, and firmly slammed the door in my face.
Stumbling back into the dining room, I was shaking as I grasped the table, heavily lowering myself onto my thankfully sturdy chair. Looking through the archway into the living room at my reclining husband, I shouted desperately over the din, “Honey, have you noticed any, um, unusual presence in our home recently?”
He looked up blankly. “No. There are just us and our teenagers.”