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Promise You Won’t Get Mad?

“Promise you won’t get mad?” is one of my favorite childish phrases ever because it always precedes the disclosure of some information that has a highly likely chance of filling the addressee with rage.

The kids’ mangy plague finally caught up with me, and I’ve been laying around all day whining and praying for the end to come quickly. I feel terrible for how callous I’ve been to Laylee and Magoo’s plight. If they felt even half as horrible as I feel right now, then I should have been at least twice as nice to them as I was. Next time I’ll learn.

We were out of bread and magically pre-made meals, and so I stopped for lunch at the Subway next to my chiropractor on the way out of my appointment, drumming up almost enough energy to speak clearly to the sandwich-making cashier. I did take a few small breaks in our conversation to make a dry smacking noise with my tongue and the roof of my mouth and to stare off into space pathetically.

I got the kids all the toppings they wanted and almost none that they didn’t, although I did make sure there was at least a sprinkly smidgeon of green on the footlong. Then we came home. “Eat,” I said as I plopped the sandwich halves onto their plates and slid onto the couch to let my body continue decomposing.

They picked at the sandwiches and slurped up a couple of olives, then headed off to make fantastical Miis on the Wii. “Hey,” I called out, “Come back and eat yer food. Cough. Splutter. Ku-hack!”

They told me that they were taking a food break but would eat again later. I told them that they needed to eat now and they couldn’t play the Wii until their food was gone. Two minutes later I saw Laylee Wii-ing away in the family room.

Me: Laylee. Did you finish eating your sandwich?
Laylee: Um…[eyes shifting from side to side] It’s all gone off my plate.
Me: [Not so sick as to be completely brain dead] What did you DO with it?
Laylee: Um… Promise you won’t get even the tiniest bit mad?
Me: Um. I promise that I’ll get more mad if you don’t tell me what you did with the dang sandwich.
Laylee: Oh. [whispering] Iputitinthetrash.
Me: That was your lunch. I’m too sick to make you another lunch. I paid money for that lunch.
Laylee: [still whispering] It’s oKAY. I still know where the other better foods are like nuggets and crackers. I can get them myself.

And who can argue with that kind of logic? Certainly not a half-delirious sick person who really doesn’t have the energy to be mad, and who’s secretly proud that her daughter can fend for herself in a house of sick patheticism.

I think I’m gonna take her question into my own life and see how it works for me. I could say things like, “Dan. Promise you won’t think I’m totally gross if I tell you something?”

“Hey. Promise me you won’t think I’m a super bad driver when I tell you this story?”

“I want to tell you something about the way I’ve been treating my kids since I’ve been sick. Promise me you won’t think I’m a neglectful mom?”


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