I will give you a moment.
Half way through what has turned out to be a glorious and restful vacation in the Outer Banks, I hear my mother-in-law utter words that no daughter-in-law should ever have to hear.
“Hadley, are those Mommy’s panties in your purse?”
My mind spins. I am awake. This is not a dream. I have only had one mojito.
Hadley is sitting between Sandy and I on our way to dinner. On her lap, she is holding a gigantic canvas bag—her purse. Just out of the corner of that bag I see a tiny silken bit of charcoal fabric. At the moment, I am not sure what’s worse: the fact that they are, in fact, my panties or the fact that Sandy recognized them.
I give Hadley a stern look as I yank them out of her bag. She protests. “But Mama! I am using those!”
“For what?” Now I am shouting and Chris and his father are looking back. Great.
I lean in so that whatever ridiculous explanation she has does not have to be heard by all.
“I am using them as a cathe for my thell phone.” She is gritting her teeth, Her “s” sounds are lisping through the gap in her bottom row.
As I attempt to scrunch my panties into as small a ball as possible in order to make them disappear, I meet with a bit of resistence. That’s when I withdraw from the “crotch pocket” a red #7 Uno game card.
Hadley answers my wordless question. “That’s my thell phone–it fits perfect in that cathe.”
I am not patient nor encouraging of her lively imagination.
“That is not a cell phone and my panties are not a case! Do not ever ever do that again.”
For a moment she looks wounded then a tiny grin and giggle erupt.
She taunts me. ” I already did it last night Mama! You didn’t even see!”
Oh God. I am regretting the second Margarita at the Mexican place and the happily unaware place it took me.
Now she furrows her brows and appears a bit concerned.
“It’s a good thing you had lot’s of these same panties in your drawer Mama! Cuz, last night I dropped my other ones–it was too dark to find them on the floor.”
I am staring open mouthed.
She is naive and tries to console me.
“It’s ok Mama! I am sure they have a lost and found!”
It took a while for me to really get a hold of the situation and honestly I can’t decide the worst part.
Was it the fact that a pair of my panties were found by some hapless busboy at a great Mexican restaurant in Corolla?
Was it the fact that my 6 year old truly believes that an Uno card slipped into a pair of silk panties is an acceptable substitute for a cell phone?
Without a doubt, the worst part was hearing my mother-in-law verbalize the mere existence of my panties followed by the knowing over the shoulder look from my father-in-law.
So much for “family” time in the Outer Banks.