Not Like Those Camels

Here’s a story from 2001 when Elder would have been five years old…

We have a small plastic table in our living room stacked with coloring books and colors. Sometimes, at dinner time, we move the books and colors to the floor and use it as the kids’ supper table. So, last night, as I made a trip from the living room into the kitchen, Elder, sitting at the table, asked, “Mom, do you know what camels can do?”

“No,” I answered, returning to the living room. “What?”

“They don’t have to drink water for a long, long, long time.”

“Oh,” I responded absently, my attention riveted on the television as the one half-hour show I try to watch every week returned from a commercial.

Several minutes later, completely engrossed in the latest episode of Friends, I must have missed Elder’s request, because suddenly he hollered, “Mo-oo-oo-om?”

I glanced towards him to find him leaning across the little table, his face completely scrunched with distress. “What?”

“I’m not like those camels,” he told me earnestly. “I need a drink right now!”

I no longer believe in the education of our children.


Growing Up

Elder and a few friends decided to plan a camping and canoe trip. Then Elder revealed his intentions to me.

“I don’t think so,” I immediately replied. “With no adults? No, I don’t think so.”

“We won’t do anything stupid, Mom,” Elder assured me. “You know me. I won’t do anything stupid.”

“I don’t think so,” I repeated. “I mean, you guys aren’t old enough to even understand all the ways you can be stupid.” But taking a deep breath, I qualified, “I’ll talk to your dad. If he thinks I’m being overprotective, then I might reconsider. But,” I couldn’t help but tack on, “I don’t think so.”

But my husband thought they’d probably be all right.

Probably be all right.


So, I reluctantly acquiesced. But I didn’t silently acquiesce.

“I don’t like this, Elder,” I told him, stalking him as he packed. “I just don’t like this at all.”

“Mom, I’m going to be eighteen in a month. In a year, I’ll be going off to college.”

“Yeah,” I muttered, stubbornly. “I don’t like that either.”

Elder grinned, tilting his head slightly. “Are you going to say ‘no’ to college, too, Mom?”

“I might,” I blustered. “I’m thinking about it.” I planted my fists on my hips. “You call me. A lot. And text me. All the time.”

“Mom,” he responded, his voice brimming with confidence in his own abilities and patience for his fretful mother. “I’ll be fine. I’ll call and text you. Don’t worry.”

A sure sign one has never been a mother is the utterance of that simple phrase — don’t worry.

But he is growing up. I guess I have to as well. And he returned safe and sound, if a little sunburnt, two days later.

But, you know, I think I’ve done my bit at growth for a long while. And if Younger thinks he’s getting that driving permit in a month, he can think again.

Because I am as up as I ever intend to grow.

A Time to Learn

One of the questions on Younger’s final exam in his health class was…

What steps would you take in the event of a fire?

His answer…

Large ones.

“I didn’t actually write that, Mom,” he assured me, when I pinned him down for a full explanation. “I just wanted to. I really, really wanted to.”

Ahh, progress.

Because a few years ago, when his teacher asked each student to draw an original superhero — a task on which she expected to build, Younger drew the Invisible Man.

My husband and I tried to convince Younger that he did not want a repeat of the resulting parent-teacher conference. Apparently, fortunately, something of the lecture stuck.

Younger thinks being a student is a stressful undertaking.

He should try being the parent of one.



Raindrops Keep Falling

We just finished another baseball season. At the awards banquet, Elder received the Defensive Player of the Year award for the second year in a row. Quite a difference from his time on the diamond in 2001…

The game scheduled for Thursday night was cancelled due to the high school baseball team appearing in the State 2A Championship game.  So, Elder played Friday night.

Apparently, in the dugout during the first or second inning, he discovered that pebbles bouncing of his helmet-covered head did not cause injury.  But then his dad leaned over, removed his helmet, and told him, “All right, Elder.  Three outs.  Get your glove and get on second base.”

Only Elder still had a hand full of pebbles.

Now, he has a head full of dents.

Then, during the last inning, it started raining, but, much to our dismay, the coaches were determined to finish the game.  And, soon, it became obvious that playing in the rain was a relatively new experience for Elder.  He finished the last half of the inning with his head tilted back and his mouth wide open while he darted and dodged around the infield, all his attention focused on catching raindrops.

When the other kids managed to snag the ball, they would draw their arms back to throw it to second base then simply stall and stare at Elder wandering blindly around the bases.

Now, I know the other kids were not fully intent on the game at hand.  One girl sang to herself in right field, another little girl picked grass, at least one other boy played in the dirt.  However, Elder was the only one to leave the field with his thirst fully quenched.

As we were walking to our car, Younger on my hip and Elder’s hand tucked firmly in mine, we tramped past a small gathering of spectators supporting the other team and I heard one man comment, “That second baseman cracked me up.”

Yeah, if he gets any more amusing, we’re charging admission.