On the Road with Trash-Talking Geckos

"Trash-talking geckos go in the glove compartment."

I never thought I'd say those words, but as a mom, I say lots of things I never thought I'd say.

Last summer I was driving with my three children from the Bay Area to Oregon to visit my husband's parents. After ten hours on the road, the kids got punchy. Ten-year-old Matthew set the stuffed gecko he'd just gotten in Hawaii on the seat between him and his sister Anna, then twelve. Except the gecko couldn't sit still. He climbed on Anna's lap, shoulders, head.

"Mom," Anna said with a giggle. "Make Matthew stop."
"It's not me. It's the gecko."
"Well," I said, eyes on the road. "Tell your gecko to sit properly in his seat."
Silence for a minute, then whispers, then more giggles. "Mo-om, Matthew said I was stupid."
"It wasn't me. It was the gecko."
I changed lanes, careful to check my mirrors. "Tell your gecko to be nice."
A minute later: "Mo-o-om. The gecko said he was going to hit me and send me to Australia."
Australia? "Matthew, tell him to behave or..." Then I said it: "Trash-talking geckos go in the glove compartment."

Laughter bubbled up and spread throughout the car. Have you ever seen those words strung together? Have those seven words ever been strung together before in the history of the world?

No deep lesson here. No great spiritual connection. Just a simple reminder that we are all unique, that every day presents something fresh, and that we can contribute something never seen or heard before.

And watch out for those geckos. They look cute, but talk trash.

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