Every family has secrets. The neighbors should be blissfully ignorant of certain embarrassing details. For my daughter, this is one of those incidents.

She doesn’t want this information to leave the house, or the garage as the case may be. But, like I told her, if you are concerned about privacy don’t provide the neighbors with a peep hole.

I also told her if she had been as worried about protecting our garage door as she was in protecting her reputation, she would have actually pressed the little button which would then activate the counterweight system. This system had been specifically installed to move the door upward providing an obstacle free path in which to exit. She didn’t find my sarcasm amusing. She also didn’t appreciate my insistence that her distracted behavior was probably caused by a cell phone conversation.

Still, to somewhat protect her identity, I’ll call this child Whitney rather than by her real name, and I’ll say she backed into our green garage door rather than the white one we really have. This should mollify her concern about people moving to the other side of the school parking lot when they see her arrive.

“I can’t believe the door was there,” Whitney said as we all stood around and looked at the insulation which used to be neatly sandwiched between the green frames, but was now bordering a lovely hole in our sheet metal.

“Where exactly did you think the door was?” her father asked.

“Well, up,” she said looking toward the ceiling.

“You know how it gets up, don’t you?” he asked as we looked at her intelligent face and mentally reviewed the scores she had acquired in recent testing. None of them showed any glaring lack of grey matter.

“I thought it was up this time,” she said

“Next time maybe you can be responsible for actually putting it up,” I said.

“Okay,” she said slowly as the idea of responsibility dawned on her.

We’d like to reinforce that thought pattern for a while. At the risk of adding an even greater burden to our school system, I might have an announcement made toward the end of the school day.

“Whitney, please, come to the office and pick up the remote control for your garage door. This particular door does not go into the upright position without some effort on your part. You will have to exert pressure on the button.”

Previously our remote control opener has been clipped to the sun visor. Obviously this location is too obscure. Apparently we need to make this small item more visible, since the door itself isn’t visible enough. Perhaps we can paint bright orange arrows on the dash board pointing to where we will mount the transmitter.

Then again, I may ignore the whole thing since I don’t want attention called to my own distracted behavior. For example, I was on the phone when I left the house yesterday. Unlike Whitney, I was capable of carrying on a conversation while safely getting in the car, raising the garage door, and driving down the road. I hadn’t driven very far, however, when my call was dropped.

I’m not going to have the school make any announcements or put arrows on Whitney’s remote control if she’ll quit making fun of me for driving off while talking on the landline.

Photo credit: Hernan Piñera via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

ViAnn Prestwich

Writing and teaching have always been a way of life for ViAnn. She taught high school English and journalism for several years. After adopting five children she became a full-time mother and part-time author. For over ten years she wrote, “Family Matters,” a weekly newspaper column. Recently she has published a book entitled, “Motherhood in Black and White,” which is a (mostly) humorous description of racing bi-racial children. Find her at her website: http://www.krpublishing.org/