Like most kids, I was pretty impressionable.  It wasn't too hard to convince me of just about anything. 

When you're a kid, what your parent tells you is absolute truth, almost no matter what.  Well, it was when I was little, anyway.  So if you can read this story with that perspective, I think you'll understand.

My Dad used to drive trucks.  When we were kids, he worked for a few different places over the years.  He drove a milk truck for awhile, a bread truck for a while, stuff like that.  Every now and then he'd get a little extra money to go and deliver some bread on the weekend, and that meant the whole family went.

One time I think we were driving up to Kirksville, and I was bored out of my mind, naturally.  I didn't know what car sickness was, but I used to get it pretty often on those trips.  Of course, nobody believed me and thought I was just whining.  So my sister was trying to entertain me a little by testing her ESP with some book she had.  I remember she asked a question (I don't remember what) and my Dad answered, "Maybe you should ask my first wife."


There was another woman before my MOM?! I was so confused.  My parents had always been together, as far as I knew. What if I had other brothers and sisters? What else hadn't he told me? Am I really even his kid?! What if my Mom isn't really my Mom?! What if my Mom is really my STEPMOM and I didn't even know it!? Did he have a second family somewhere?!

My little brain was just shooketh.  I sat quietly and panicked, and he let me do that for probably the rest of the whole weekend. I talked with my sister about it, and she was just as worked up as I was.  Do we have brothers? Do we have sisters? Who are these people?!

Then, Monday morning came. I was just beside myself with worry about what I was going to do about my Father's second family, convinced that I'd have to run away and try to find them (WHY.  I was a kid, did I think I was Perry Mason or something?).  So I got my little essentials together (a sweater, my favorite book, a jar of peanut butter) and told my Mom I was going to run away.

"Sweetie, why are you going to run away?"

"Because I have to find Dad's second family.  I have to find his first wife."

My Mom keeled over and laughed for a good three minutes.  This was Not. Funny. Mom. I was so mad, but also a little sad, that she just didn't care about all the potential kids that could be out there, and didn't even know about us. She finally managed to get it together and sat me down at the kitchen table.

"Sweetheart.  Your Daddy was joking with you.  I'm his first wife."


"We had our vows renewed after we had you.  So sometimes when he's being silly, he'll call me his first wife, or his second wife. Sometimes he even calls me his girlfriend. Your Dad has only been married to me, kiddo."

If you can imagine a dumbstruck kid, a kid who was convinced that everything they had thought was true was proven wrong.. that was me.  It was a feeling of relief, of disbelief, a mix of mad and whatever the word is for how you feel after you've been tricked.  I realized then that my SISTER was also in on it! She knew Dad didn't have a second family, and she LET ME THINK THAT.  I stomped back to my room and sat on my bed and hated all the world. But then after a while, I started to think how lucky I was to have parents who loved each other enough to renew their wedding vows.

I guess it wasn't so bad.  I had heard of some kids at school whose parents got... the D word.  A lot of the kids didn't want to talk about it.  It was a big deal. So I should be grateful.  The world went back to its more rosy outlook.   I went outside and sat in my sandbox. Life went on. But for a brief moment there... life was almost very different.

Have your parents ever pulled a little joke like that on you?  What happened?

Sandboxily yours,


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