According to Noah, whenever Aunt Cyndi travels with us, its just like adding another kid to the trip. And, you know what? He’s right! The kids’ affectionate nickname for her is Aunt Loser. On a prior vacation, after playing games together and sweet teasing between her and them as to who would win, the kids triumphed and she became Aunt Loser forevermore.
We took our kids and Aunt Cyndi to Washington, D.C. for Spring Break. Only minutes into our road trip, and from the far back row of the Suburban wedged among the suitcases encroaching from the trunk, she taught them the following joke:
“Do you know what a fart is? It’s a turd honking to get out.” This met with raucous laughter from our three. (Footnote: Recall the trip last fall where she taught them the term “craptastic”. That has haunted us for months.)
Swell. Really swell. Insert parental eye-roll here. How many weeks, or worse, months will we hear that joke repeated? I lamely attempted to recall that joke in an email to family, but I didn’t get it right. Cyndi corrected me, to which I replied, “Pardon moi.” Sheesh. I’m not current on the scatological humor I guess.
Mockingly exasperated at her, I said, “CYNDI! If you don’t behave on this trip then we will lash you to the roof for the rest of the trip.” Score one for Mom! Even rowdier laughter from the kids. And, then for the rest of the trip we teased her a lot about stopping to buy bungee cords if necessary. She explained to the kids that as their Aunt it was her duty to teach them all sorts of irrelevant things in life.
From what I could observe, she also believed it was her duty to keep them stirred up and laughing at bedtime, and to disrupt bedtime as long as possible. She and the kids had a running routine that centered around whether or not she could creep in on her hands and knees after they were tucked in and scare them. Every night she tried, and every night they erupted into giggles when they caught her. But, one night after I had warned them AND her that it was way too late to keep on with such silliness, I went into my bedroom, and when I came out there she stood with her nose poked into the tiny crack between the door and jamb. CYNDI! THAT IS ENOUGH! She jumped like a sprung Jack in the Box and we both laughed that instead of her scaring them, I scared her! Finally, toward the end of the week, she began hiding in their bedroom closet and successfully scared them witless as she sprang from the closet in their darkened room. Surely there’s no connection between that and their reluctance to turn out their lights at home now?
Cyndi and Sarah Grace were our Metro navigators. Our hotel offered a free shuttle to and from the Metro, and all we had to do was call them when our train passed a certain stop, which Cyndi heard as the Boston Commons stop. (Which if we were in Boston, would be logical. Not so much in D.C. though.) However, Cyndi couldn’t find Boston Commons on any of the four Metro lines, and fretted silently the first day. As we rode the Metro back toward our hotel, she confessed she couldn’t find any such stop on the map. Just then, we whooshed into the next station and “Ballston” whizzed by. Sarcastically, with one eyebrow cocked, I asked, “Would that be Ballston perhaps?” Relief flooded her face even as she started laughing. She said, “Yes! How embarrassing!” To which I mocked her with, “Yes, I’m embarrassed FOR you!”
As our trip progressed from one historical site to another—Monticello, Ash Lawn, Ford’s Theatre, Arlington Cemetery, and all through D.C., and finally Mt. Vernon, Noah quipped that this was the Dead President’s vacation. Cyndi, despite now working for the University, was not a scholarly sort in her younger years, and a trip full of history would have tortured her. But, she seemed to enjoy this trip. Mostly. Except for the First Ladies’ Dress exhibit in the Smithsonian American History Museum. There, her enthusiasm lagged. Cyndi and I are opposite in many ways including that as much as I love frou frou, she dislikes it equally as much. While Sarah Grace sought a picture in front of each and every dress (a child after my own heart!), I spied Cyndi texting inside the exhibit and she confessed to the following text with her friend:
Cyndi: Annnnnd now we are looking at dresses worn by First Ladies. Can we go back to the space museum?
Friend: Oh lord. Cyndi is tugging at her sister’s shirt saying can we gooooooo? Lol
Cyndi: Pretty much! My niece is loving it though. But how much longer?
Friend: That makes me laugh and feel sorry for you at the same time.
We love Cyndi despite, or perhaps because of, her craziness. Cyndi is a winner in our eyes. Even if she is Aunt Loser.