The Smelliest Sweet Sixteenth Ever

Fric turned sixteen on Saturday and Mother Nature celebrated by sending a skunk to our house to fumigate the premises.

Do you know what freshly sprayed skunk smells like up close, when it's undiluted by time and wind?

It smells like hot acrid death and it burns the insides of your nose. You can't avoid the scent and your body never really acclimates to it. It just sits inside your nose, hiding in your nostril hair, making you nauseous and wishing for death with every breath you draw.

The night before her birthday I crawled into bed feeling sorry for myself. As excited as she was I just couldn't get past the fact that her turning sixteen meant that I was old enough to be the mother to a sixteen year old.

Somehow I blinked away sixteen years of her life. It feels like I missed it. I can barely remember her hammy newborn fists, so tightly clenched as she shook them angrily at the world.

Years marked with skinned knees and stitches. Bubble gum tangled in long locks of blonde hair. Her first report card, her first medal. So many firsts, all memories tainted by time and coloured with exhaustion. Sixteen years worth and it seems like I can barely remember any of it.

As she nears adulthood her childhood  is relegated more and more to the past, slowly being covered with dust as it is tucked away inside memories and locked into digital photo albums.

The smoke from sixteen candles will soon be just another childhood memory evaporated into the ethers of time. I can feel time pass through my hands as I watch her morph into the young lady she's meant to be.

My funk was as deep as that stupid crease in between my eyebrows and I didn't think I could wake up feeling any more sorry for myself than I was when I closed my eyes that night.

Woe is me. My daughter is sixteen years old. I want to slap myself. Get some perspective woman!

Before the dawn broke, as the sun threatened to spill over the horizon and the moon still clung to the night sky, that's when a skunk visited my house. The animal invader crawled UNDER my home until it stood directly under where I slept, then it raised it's tail in salute and then it slipped away into the trees, empty of it's smell, probably laughing all the while.

It didn't take long before the entire house was awake, gasping for fresh air, dying of the toxic scent.


But we are nothing if not resourceful and what's a little skunk spray to stop a sweet sixteen party? There would be no crying on this occasion, only a little eye watering but that was strictly a biological response to the acrid stench burning our eyes.

I'll never admit otherwise.

The party was a stinker success and after the candles were blown out, pictures were snapped and the cake destroyed, I sat next to Boo and looked at the lines across his face and I felt a bit better. It turns out I'm not the only one old enough to be the parent to a sixteen year old kid. He is too.

We sat there and watched our daughter, laugh and play with all her best friends and it was in that moment my heart grew so large it threatened to once again crack open.

"It would figure a skunk would hit us today, of all days," my husband murmured as the sounds of teenaged laughter echoed from the trees outside our home.

"Why is that?" I asked, confused and not following his train of thought.

"Don't you remember what happened sixteen years ago when she was born?"

"Well I don't know if you remember but I was a little busy what with the squeezing a human being out of my body sixteen years ago," I retorted. "My memories really only consist of pain and large baby craniums."

My husband shook his head, while probably wondering what he did to deserve the awesome that is me, and then said "This was Mother Nature's payback for all those years ago."

"Mother Nature doesn't punish us for childbirth Boo. She's not political like that." Dope.


Oh right.

"I totally forgot about that. What with the trying to keep my legs closed so a baby didn't pop out!" We had just left the little white farm house and were fleeing to the city at about 11 pm at night. My contractions were 9o seconds apart and I was convinced I was dying.

Boo, 21 years old, scared and excited, didn't see the HUGE PORCUPINE in the middle of the road.

Suddenly there was a THUMP and my husband was swearing and I was contracting and the car stopped.

"What are you doing? THE BABY IS COMING!!" I have yelled, half panted.

"I hit something! I have to check the car!"


And so he went. And as we drove away my husband saw the remains of the porcupine and my front bumper and muttered something about me being crazy.

"We were lucky the car still ran. That sucker was huge," my husband reminisced.


"Face it Tanis, Mother Nature is out for revenge."

"Oh please Boo. You couldn't be more wrong. Mother Nature is CELEBRATING our LOVE. She not only sacrificed the life of a beautiful porcupine upon the birth of our daughter, but she sent us her finest perfume to ring in said daughter's birth. We are NATURE'S CHOSEN ONES."

My husband, rolled his eyes and got up to eat another slice of cake. "Listen here Snow White, from now on, if Mother Nature sends us anymore gifts for our daughter, we are sending them back."

Prince Charming has spoken.

Happy birthday Fric. It may not have been the sweetest sixteenth birthday ever but thanks to Nature, this is one memory of your childhood that will be forever burned into my memory.

I love you kid. More than Mother Nature ever could.