In the Dark

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2001 when Elder was four years old and only managed sarcasm by accident . . .

The other day, I was playing Nintendo with Elder.  More specifically, we were playing Mickey’s Road Rage – actually, their name for the sport is a little tamer but mine is much more descriptive, I think.  Anyway, when players race in certain cities, a layer of blue permeates the entire screen, giving the illusion of nighttime.  Seattle is one such city.

So, Elder and I were racing in Seattle, when I fell off a ramp – my character, not me.  I was actually sitting on the sofa.  Anyway, instead of landing on the road beside the ramp, I landed some ways back on the course, someplace deep in the shadowed night, and was promptly lost.  So, while Elder was speeding away, I was basically doing three-sixties and bouncing off walls, while one of Donald’s nephews repeated, “You’re going the wrong way” every few seconds or so.

Frustrated because I was losing to my four-year-old – again, I muttered, “I don’t even know where I am.”

To which, Elder offered, “In the dark?”

Yep.  Pretty much completely.

And always.

 

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Tuesday Before Threesday

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2000. Elder would have been four years old . . .

Several times on Tuesday, for one reason or another, I found myself explaining to Elder that it was Tuesday — as opposed to another day in the week, such as Sunday.  On Tuesday, Mommy worked and he went to the babysitter.

That night, while we were eating dinner, he told me, “Mom, tomorrow is Threesday and on Threesday, you don’t have to work.”

Well, he’s kind of right.

I’ve never worked a Threesday in my life.

Pink

Younger’s favorite color is orange. He wore orange, he colored in orange. We even had to paint his bedroom orange.

And he would ask me, “What is your favorite color, Mom?”

And I would respond, “I don’t have a favorite, Younger. I could never choose just one.”

He never really believed me, even though I’m not a liar, and repeated the question faithfully throughout the years.

“What is your favorite color, Mom?”

“I don’t have a favorite, Younger.”

So, a few months ago, at a local office supply store, Younger glanced at the small pile of items on the counter and announced with satisfaction, “You may think you don’t have a favorite color, Mom, but you do.”

I lowered my eyes to the only purchase I was making for myself: pink earbuds. “You think pink is my favorite color, huh?”

“Yep.” He nodded. “Everything you buy is pink.”

“Hmmmm,” I nodded as well. “I buy pink so no boys steal my stuff.”

He shot me a look out of the corner of his eye, reluctantly impressed. “That’s actually kind of smart.”

Yeah, it was genius.

Until the boys matured and realized using pink earbuds or phone case or thumb drive or blanket did not actually get them tossed from the male species.

Now, I have no protection against thieves.

I also have no earbuds . . . or phone case . . .  or  thumb drive . . . or  blanket . . . or . . .

A Penny Saved

The other day, Younger and my husband joined me in the cleaning of the house. Because Younger wanted a video game and the only way I agreed to take him to buy a video game was in a trade — his effort for my driver’s license.

His dad, on the other hand, is just an easy mark.

But as I rushed down the stairs in one of my many trips between floors, I stumbled to an awkward halt on the bottom stop.

My husband, one hand automatically and rhythmically and blindly pushing a mop over the hardwood floor, glanced up from the video he was watching on the phone in his other hand. “What?” As I blinked at him, trying to find my words, he added, a bit defensively, “I’m mopping.”

“Yes, you are,” I agreed, nodding my head. “You are mopping. Yes, you are.”

And I turned into the hallway without finding any additional words. Because help is, well, help, even if it is cheap help.

And I guess I can’t say he wasn’t worth the money.

Well, I could say it.

But I  won’t.

Time and Again

Well, Younger is officially a senior.

When my children were younger, other parents warned, “Enjoy them now. They’ll be grown before you know.”

Then when I agreed to enjoy the boys while they were young, other parents would give me that smile — a smile that was not quite condescending, perhaps a little nostalgic, maybe even regretful, always knowing. And I know when the boys were little, some days seemed longer than forever and bedtime was really the only goal of the day.

But anyone finding a five-year-old where a toddler used to stand a blink ago cannot remain blissfully ignorant of the passage of time.

So, I always knew my boys would only be little for a very short time. I would close my eyes and try to imprint into my heart the feel of their arms around my neck, the softness of their breath in my ear, the absolute trust in the relaxing of their bodies against mine.

I wrote their stories so I wouldn’t forget those everyday little moments that get lost in the past.

A long time ago, not so long ago, Younger and I used to snuggle on the sofa and watch Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer. When we lived in an apartment, I took him with me to the laundromat, and we did puzzles while our clothes spun in a washing machine.  Every week, we would do our grocery shopping, and we settled at Applebee’s for lunch where he got macaroni and cheese and a balloon.

Every year before school started, I would take him back to Applebee’s for his “last supper” and spoil him with dessert.

We have one more last supper, I guess.

I always understood that time was slipping by me too quickly. I just never figured out any possible maneuver that slowed it down — wishing, arguing, throwing tantrums, begging. Time can ignore all attempts at manipulation.

Even greedy fingers can’t grasp the sand in an hourglass.

So, Younger is a senior.

And, somehow, still my baby.