My 19 year-old son, already temporarily laid off from his box job for several days, called me into his room, a rarity nowadays, to ask for my help with a problem.
Cell phone lost? No.
Academics? Goodness No!
I sat down in a chair and put my feet up on his bed where he lay looking despondently at the ceiling.
"What's wrong, Son?"
"Snot, Mom. I have so much snot that I cannot get it all out no matter how many times I blow my nose."
When he was little, his booger extractions were major events in our family routine. There was syringing, coaxing, pulling, joking, daring ... anything to get him to hold still long enough to get the snot out of there.
But now he is 19.
True, he has a had a big, bad summer cold. True, his nose has been broken 3 times and must be shaped like a maze up in there. True, I am his mother who loves him and has compassion for him.
But here's another truth: there's a difference in the level of snot offensiveness relative to the age of the snot producer. Jordan passed the point of "too yucky even for mom" at about 12.
So I sat there with my feet up not knowing what to do. Then I said something very adult and mature: "I wonder how many blows it would take to really clear you out."
He replied, "I told you. It doesn't matter how much I blow; it never stops. You wouldn't believe it. I mean it never stops!"
To which I said, "You're right; I don't believe that. I know ... let's count how many blows it takes." I retrieved a box of Puffs and a trash can and resumed my position.
The boy used each tissue 3 times. He blew and blew and blew.
We stopped counting at 40 blows. F-O-R-T-Y, people.
Of course, the absurdity of his blowing and my counting made us laugh all the way through this peculiar endeavor.
Finally, I left him in his room full of tissues, feeling satisfied, like I had done something almost ... motherly.
About ten minutes later, he came to find me. Uh-oh.
"Mom, you know that thing you told me about earlier?"
"The Neti Pot?"
"Yeah. That. Can you get that for me because I'm already full again."
"Great Googly-Moogly, Son! You're full again?"
So I went to the drug store and bought one of these:
I bought just the standard fare, but you can buy ones that look like ceramic tea pots, genie lamps, gardening pails or drug paraphernalia:
The Neti Pot gained fame on Oprah (where else), where someone actually demonstrated how to use one. Here she is.
Basically, it's a nasal irrigation system using a saline solution to dou*che your sinuses. Are we having fun yet?
You're probably asking, "But does the nasal bidet come with a full set of instructions?"
Why, yes it does. But it clearly states, "If you are a 19 year-old college boy, you can still make your mom help you, just for kicks."
So we trudged off to the bathroom, and I walked him through this step-by-step. The problem is, he is the son of my husband and me, and we both have over-achieving noses, in size and production (I plead allergies).
So Jordan's nostrils were too large for the Neti Pot. At least that's what we concluded. Water was coming out his mouth and eyes, but not the other nostril. So frustrating! So he worked and worked and contorted himself and finally got a good flow going.
And then, before I even had time to think about it, I spontaneously did something that I still cannot believe.
I clapped for him and bounced up and down on my toes. Just like when he was three.
Then he lost it, and I lost it, and it was a while before he could cleanse the other side because we were so goofy.
Let me tell you, my son has a new best friend: the Neti. For a long time after the cleanse, he inhaled and exhaled deeply through his nose. He just could not get over the niceness of oxygen. He was even excited to take a nap because he was going to be able to, and I quote, "breathe and sleep at the same time."
(Yes, my 19 year-old loves to
The total time from the great blow-out until sweet nasal freedom? TWO HOURS.
But once again, I am grateful for the exciting SAHM moment I would have missed had I been making boring old copies at work.
I sense that this is going to be a very rewarding, productive month.