I can hear the squeak, squeak, squeak of the rocking chair. My husband’s rocking our daughter to sleep, and the rocker’s got a squeak. Sitting in the darkened room, sipping on a bottle, tucked into dad’s arm: that’s how she goes to sleep most nights. I know she’s finally dropped off when the chair stops squeaking. She’ll need to take a can of WD-40 to work with her, when she’s old enough to have a desk job. Any chair that squeaks is apt to put her right out.

“Because I said so. . .”. I hated those words as a kid. Such power they had! What was the rebuttal? Of course my mother had the power to say them, and of course I had no power to counter.

This weekend I was in a mother-ish position. My daughter’s only five months old, so I haven’t yet had to use that dreaded phrase on her. But I was out camping with a group of girls from our church, and some of them wanted to go exploring away from our campground. They had a plan – they’d keep a walkie talkie with them and give one to an adult. I wasn’t satisfied – I’m a pessimist at heart when it comes to other folks’ kids in my care, and I’d much rather them not be out wandering without some sort of adult supervision. Walkie talkies just don’t cut it.

So, I said no. And they started to argue, these 12 year old adventurers. I never used the phrase “Because I said so” in its exact form, but I could suddenly understand its usefulness. My reasoning, though it held lots of weight with me, held no weight to a group of girls convinced that a national park held little or no dangers. Me, I think of snakes, bears, twisted ankles, other unfriendly adventurers who’d take advantage of a wandering young lady. They, they think that the risk of those dangers is small and that the walkie talkies would let someone know they were in danger. I’m not going to convince them, and they’re not going to convince me. . . we’re at an impasse. The only way to break it is to pull out the “Because I said so” card.

I hated the phrase as a kid, and can see why these girls would just as equally hate it being applied to them. But, darn, it’s useful!