S’mores, Smoke Bombs and Ketchup

My mom and dad finally got divorced when I was ten, but the marriage was over long before that. There are a lot of not so good stories that go with that time of my life, but I have made a conscious choice regarding that time of my life.

That choice has been to accept all the difficulty as a learning experience about things not to do. All the bad personal moments I witnessed or was a part of I embrace as lessons about the person I don’t want to be.

After my Mom and Dad got divorced we were always with one parent or another. While we lived with Dad, my Grandma and Grandpa were around a lot, but for the most part whether we were living with my Mom or Dad the four of us were left to fend for ourselves because Mom and Dad both worked their butts off to give us what we had.

In one big way this was great, because we learned at a very young age how to take care of ourselves. For example, I discovered my love for cooking and would make a lot of the dinners. My specialty was spaghetti with sauce made from scratch. I also made a mean RC Cola float.

In other ways, four kids left to their own devices do some really stupid things. The dumbest yet most memorable involve our kitchen stove that had the coils that got bright red when they heated up.

We did use the stove a lot to actually make food, like for roasting marshmallows for S’mores using forks. Then there was the not so smart things of lighting cigarettes. At the ripe old age of 11 I had my first got seriously addicted in high school when I got taught how to inhale and it took me more than 20 years to quit from that first one. Thank you goes to your Mom for helping me quit and I hope you never start.

Then there was nothing like the adrenaline produced when you light a smoke bomb from the coil and then run across the kitchen to the porch outside and throw it to the driveway before it goes off. In retrospect that was just a bit stupid. Your Uncle Mike was just seven or eight when he lit his first and I’ll never forget him lighting it and it immediately falling to the floor. My Dad asked later that night what smelled funny, all of us acted like we had no idea what he was talking about.

The four of us kids bonded around moments like that, but we had and still have our fair amount if disagreements. One of those disagreements resulted in use of ketchup squirt bottles as weapons. This one didn’t quite get by Dad though because we failed to clean up the ketchup that hit the ceiling.

We did get away with a hell of a lot though and ultimately those experiences are part of what helped make us closer.

It wasn’t smooth sailing to where we are at in our relationships as siblings today. As we grew up at times we grew apart, but we are family and family is an amazing thing.


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