When I reflect on this one night, I find myself laughing but it was far from comical at the time.
After months of searching and weeks of packing, my son and I finally placed the remaining boxes containing our few belongings into our new home in Pennsylvania.
My son decided to mark this special occasion with White Castle burgers he cooked in the microwave. The freezer may have been practically bare, but I made sure we had a couple of boxes of these tasty burgers, one of my 7-year-old’s favorite foods.
He carefully brought the burgers outside to our porch where he had strategically placed two lawn chairs to overlook the peaceful, quiet neighborhood. As the sun was setting that summer evening, we talked about our hopes for our new future in this small borough.
Afterward, we began the tedious process of unpacking boxes and putting items in their new proper places for a few hours. Gradually, our house was becoming our home.
We decided to call it quits around 10 p.m. and Joseph decided to join me for a movie in my bedroom. The lights were out and the television aglow. Before the film began, he asked me to get some Oreo cookies.
I flipped on the lights and there it was — a bat!
And flying in circles right above the very bed we were lying in.
And we fled the room and slammed the door!
I grabbed my keys and my kid, and we jumped into my car and drove as fast as we could to my parent’s house, a good hour-long drive away.
That’s what I did and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
We were freaked out!
I mean this bat could have had rabies and large fangs and sharp claws!
And so what if it didn’t? We weren’t going to stay there alone — and find out.
Are you kidding me? I’m a city girl and this was not acceptable!
Our home in this tranquil neighborhood had an intruder and it would be dealt with — the next day!
And not by me! No, I hired a professional bat-catcher. No brooms and helmets for me!
He fearlessly entered the house and followed me as I cautiously led him to my bedroom. As we walked through the living room, he commented that the bat could have come through my fireplace and then added that he would need to check my heater for possible points of entry.
When we reached the bedroom, I realized the bat could have crawled under the door and flew somewhere else in the house.
That’s all I needed! A bat just flying around wherever it wanted, scaring the hell out of my son and me.
I mean how many times do I need to be terrified in my own home? We just moved here and we hadn’t even met our neighbors!
The bat-catcher, wearing thick, protective gloves, slowly opened the door to the room and walked inside. He warned me that the bat could be under the sheets, in the closet, under or behind the furniture — anywhere.
And that was supposed to make me feel comfortable?
I watched from the doorway as he peered behind my dresser when he quietly said that he spotted the bat just hanging there.
He slowly and quietly reached down — and grabbed it!
The bat was sleeping and non-threatening when he brought it outside. He pried open its mouth a bit to show me that it did, in fact, have sharp teeth. He added that he was surprised at how big it was.
At that point, it didn’t matter if it had claws. That bat could have caused some serious problems.
The bat-catcher placed the bat on the lawn. The sun and heat eventually woke it up and the bat flapped away. I was relieved to see it leave and worried that it would return when the bat-catcher turned to me and said:
“We should check your house for another bat. They tend to travel in pairs.”
Ultimately, only one bat visited our house and a metal cap was placed over the chimney. All entry points were closed off to future intruders.
My house isn’t hermetically sealed but we’re doing fine!
My son and I laugh about this incident, but to this day we still keep an eye out for any bats flying in and around our house.
This column, the sixth installment in a seven-part series, explores more of the hilarious and sweet situations single parents confront with their children. Following are some of their responses:
“When my 3-year-old daughter was in a grocery store line, she said, ‘I love Chuck E. Cheeses.’ A little old lady overheard and said, ‘Oh that’s so sweet. You love Jesus!’ And she gave me a smile and nod of approval. My daughter yelled back, ‘Noooo! I love Chuck E. Cheeses! I was mortified by the look on that lady’s face.”
“My 5-year-old son told me at his baby brother’s ultrasound, which was high definition so we could see him blinking, ‘Momma, I can see his brain moving!’”
“OK … wow … I’ve got oodles for you.
“My 6-year-old son recently cited my ‘tiny T-Rex arms’ as the reason I couldn’t reach the hot wings across the table.
“I had a kid ask me to ‘prove it’ when I told him I was pregnant and that’s why my belly was so big.
“My oldest — the one who said I had tiny T-Rex arms — sniffed his feet once and told me they smelled like victory.
“Same kid also wants to go back in time to see dinosaurs, ya know … during the 1980s.
“So yeah that’s just a minute snapshot into my son.”
“When my son was about 5 years old, he had constipation and I would give him medication. Every day we had a ‘bathtub pool’ shower during which I filled the tub with water and his toys. He literally played every day for at least an hour. One day I went to get my coffee so that I can sit with him while he played when all of a sudden I heard him scream. I ran to the bathroom and scanned it. No spider on the wall. No bug in sight. Then I looked inside the tub. The hot water caused his poop to come out and the tub was filled with it. I had to get him out and clean all the toys with bleach.”
“When my son was about 5 years old, he was getting ready for a shower. He saw a fly in the bathroom and said, ‘I hope it’s not a girl fly.’”
“My 4-year-old daughter decided we would name my unborn son ‘Microwave John’ and has been telling everyone this is the chosen name.”
“When my 18-year-old son was 4, I had separated from my husband. I was finally ready to go out on a date, but I wasn’t feeling very confident about how I looked. I finally just put my head down and sighed. My son asked, ‘What’s wrong, Mommy?’ I said, ‘I feel fat and ugly.’ He put his arms around my waist and tried to comfort me by saying, ‘You’re not ugly; you’re just fat.’ His tone was so sweet that all I could do was smile.”
“My hearing-impaired daughter used to attend Bible school when she was 8. She’s now 21. I’m not religious, but if she wanted to go, I had no problem. Anyway, after the first day, she told me that she was thrilled to be there and asked me if Bob could come over. ‘Who the heck is Bob?’ I asked. She said, ‘You know, Bob. We learned about him today and he has lambs and they wrote a book about him.’ I said, ‘Oh, sweetie, you mean God!’ I never laughed so hard I’m my life. I explained to her that God is not a physical being. She was sad, but also still laughs to this day to remember how she misheard God and Bob.”
“My 5-year-old daughter attempted to cut her 2-year-old brother’s penis off with a toy knife because she said she didn’t like it.”
Please feel free to email me your stories and enjoy the laughter these and upcoming memories are sure to produce.
On Thursdays, I share a blog about a day in the actual life of a single parent. Every fourth Thursday, instead of a personal post, I put together one where I assemble news on and about single parents nationally and globally.
I would love to hear from you! Feel free to send any comments and questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on Twitter @parentsonurown and can be found by searching #singleparentandstrong.