Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Funniest Memory I Don't Have

The funniest story my dad has ever told me about us, I can't remember. I really wish I could remember, but I can't. Because the funniest thing that ever happened between the two of us happened when I was three months old and far too young to be able to form long term memories.

However, it's just too damn funny to pass up the opportunity of telling it, and I'm in a good kind of mood right now (though I AM having problems with my Stumble) and there's not time like the present for getting things done. Or something like that.

So I suppose I should preface this story by saying that Daddy, a military man and a small town farm boy before that, is terrified of two things: spiders and snakes. Odd, I should think, for someone who grew up in the country on land bound to be covered in snakes and spiders. But maybe there's a story in there for each one that he hasn't told me about yet that explains his fear.

I don't really know. All I know is that my whole life I've only seen Daddy freak out about spiders and snakes. (And the snake fear amuses me, I admit, because I'm not afraid of snakes. They're a little creepy, but I don't mind them being around and I don't mind holding them.) And the snake fear is the key element in this story.

The year was 1988. It was early December. I was just over three months old, and for some reason I would not sleep in a crib. When my parents tried to put me in a crib to sleep, I would wake up and scream and cry until somebody came and picked me up. The only solution my family had found for this was to let me sleep in the bed with Mom and Daddy. (Apparently, this is a big parenting no-no for reasons of safety and also for precedence, but my parents were eighteen years old and were not worldly creatures.) And that's where I slept when this incident occurred.

We were all sleeping, Mom on the left, Daddy on the right, and I slept in the middle. I was a pretty restful baby, to hear him tell it. I didn't wake up and cry in the middle of the night like Relly did all of the time. And it was a normal night, I guess, except that Mom and Daddy had watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark before going to bed. It wouldn't have been a problem if Daddy didn't have such a wild imagination.

After falling asleep, Daddy dreamed himself into the middle of the Great Snake Chamber. And snakes were slithering all over the place and he was fighting them. Apparently a snake lunged at his face and it startled him awake.

And as he opened his eyes, little baby Chanel moved in her sleep, and Daddy saw the movement out of the corner of his eye, and when he turned his head to look at my peaceful baby body in the darkness, he expected just me. Unfortunately, he saw this:

Except it was a LOT of snakes slithering over his baby, not just one. And Daddy did the only thing he could do. Daddy freaked out, jumped up, and started beating the snakes off of me. Except that there were no snakes on me, so he was just slapping my arms and legs and stomach with quick swiping motions.

Of course it woke me up, and what would you expect? I was being slapped around! I started screaming, crying, and squalling at the top of my lungs. This only convinced Daddy that one of the snakes had bitten me somewhere, and he started beating even more ferociously to get the snakes off of his baby. My screams and his flailing woke my mother up, and she turned to look at him.

Her exact words were, "I thought your father had lost his mind. It was dark and all I could see was him hitting you."

"What the hell are you doing, Junior?" she screamed.

"Damn it, woman (his account), there are snakes on the baby!"

Well, that freaked Mom out, but thankfully she was a little calmer. She didn't immediately join in with beating me in the dark. She jumped out of bed (maybe to get away from the supposed snakes as well) and ran to turn on the light.

Enter light.

And no snakes.

Just a red faced, squalling Chanel-baby, a skinny eighteen year old boy kneeling over her, arms mid-air, looking terrified and appalled at the same time, and a very pissed off eighteen year old girl who saw no snakes anywhere on or near her baby, or even in the room.

"I swear to God, GG, I saw snakes on the baby!"

"You were dreaming."

Well, apparently Daddy hadn't completely woken up when he woke up and his dream had carried over into reality. Darkness and fear can do that, as I well know from my own experience with a flamingo from a dream that wouldn't end.

Luckily for both of my parents, I wasn't actually injured during Daddy's rescue attempt. And while I do laugh at this story, I feel very thankful that my Daddy was brave enough to stand and fight for my life instead of running away from the creepy snakes instead. I mean, I know they weren't real, but HE didn't know that, and he tried to protect me, despite his instinctive desire to RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!


  1. That's love.

    And your background reminds me of Christmas. It's totally getting me in the spirit.

  2. Parental protective instincts are the most powerful on the planet. That whole "Mama Bear" thing is real, and no one should EVER try to get between a Daddy and his Daughter. It's just plain dangerous.

    I did something similar once. When my son was a baby, he was sitting on the floor playing while my husband and I watched a movie. Suddenly, the husband says: "Candice, he (meaning the baby) is about to grab that spider." I didn't even know there was a spider in the room! Despite my own great personal fear of those eight-legged demons, I jumped up without a second thought and snatched my son away, swatting this HUGE spider away from him. I totally freaked out once my son was out of danger. I also made my husband kill the spider for me. However, in the heat of the moment, it's amazing what parents will do to protect their kids.

    Great story, by the way. :)

  3. Annah: Well now that you've pointed it out I can see that it really DOES look like Christmas. Now I'll have to go change it because I wasn't going for Christmas themed at all. How did I not notice that?

    Candice: Your son was a very brave, curious baby. I can imagine that that wasn't the first or last time you had to rescue him from potential disaster. I obviously can't understand the protective instinct of a parent, but I do know that, despite my disinterest in socializing with my sisters, I had and still have a very strong protective streak in regards to all of them, even the older one. I guess it's not the same, but it's probably similar. NOBODY messes with my sisters except for me.


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