That Thing

Younger identifies three categories of vehicles — cars, trucks, and vans. I have encouraged him to add a few categories, but he is happy with his three.

“Younger,” I have muttered with exasperation. “One day, you will witness a crime, and you will tell the cops that the criminal jumped into a white van, and meanwhile, he’s escaping detection in a white Chevy Blazer.”

But he says the odds of him witnessing a crime are low, so he sticks with his categories.

The other day, we were circling the school’s parking lot at halftime of the football game, watching for fans leaving early, when the lights of a van flashed in the darkness. Circling around one block of cars, we came back to search for the empty space.

“Is that where the van was parked?” I asked Younger, frowning.

“Yeah,” he assured me.

“Huh,” I mumbled. “I thought it was farther down the row.”

“Huh-uh, it was parked right by that thing.”

In the process of pulling into the empty space, I touched my brakes to glance at Younger then follow his pointing finger.

I blinked. Twice.  Unlocked my jaw.

Then finished angling into the spot.

“Younger,” I said quietly, killing the engine with a twist of the key. “I think you may be the only male in America who would point at a Corvette and call it ‘that thing.’ ”

“It’s just a car, Mom,” he reminded me.

Well, yeah, sure, just a so-shiny-you-can-spot-it-in-the-dark, blue, convertible, fairly expensive, sports . . . car.

The Corvette.

Or, you know, more commonly known as “that thing.”

 

 

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The Philosophy of Life

So, Monday was the first day of Younger’s senior year. Monday, the day of the solar eclipse. The solar eclipse that Younger wanted to travel to see in totality.

Instead, he had to settle for a ninety-eight percent solar eclipse.

So, early Monday, standing outside his bedroom door, I took a deep breath then rapped my knuckles lightly against the wood. “Morning,” I sang lightly, poking my head in.

“Hmmph,” I heard from the pile of bedcovers.

“Hey, Younger, if you get ready quickly, I can take you to breakfast before school.”

One eye appeared, blinking at the light. “McDonald’s?”

And for a few brief moments, I was pleased that I had brightened his day just a bit. But, once he was begrudgingly prepared to venture toward his last high school year, I could not find my car keys.

You need keys to venture.

So, instead, after frantically searching for several minutes, I grabbed the keys to our 1996 Ford F-150. A bit of a rougher ride than the car. But, except for the steering wheel cover that long ago degraded into sticky rubber particles, not a completely bad drive.

Well, and except for that forgotten refrigerator in the back.

“I’m not getting McDonald’s, am I?” Younger commented as we stood shoulder to shoulder staring at the freezer door wedged at an awkward and askew angle between the refrigerator and tire well.

But we embraced our inner redneck and climbed into the ancient truck, not getting above fourth gear during the entire thirteen miles. But we, eventually, arrived successfully at the stoplight in front of the school.

“At least we beat the traffic,” Younger managed a bit of optimism.

“Yeah,” I glanced at the lo-ooo-ong line of cars snaking behind us and turned into the parking lot with a sigh. “Yeah, well, we might have actually been traffic.”

As he slid from the truck seat, Younger hiked his backpack onto his shoulder. “It could have been worse. That’s about all I can say about it.”

I think, sometimes, that is the philosophy of life.

It could have been worse.

And that’s about all I can say about it.

 

 

 

One More Time

Today, I helped Elder carry boxes, baskets, and bags to his car. Then he wrapped his arms around me and pressed his cheek to the top of my head.

“I love you so much, Mom,” he told me.

“I love you so much, too,” I responded, patting his back.

Then I watched him climb into his car, surrounded by a significant portion of his material belongings. And I stood in the driveway until he and his car bounced onto the gravel road, heading towards another school year at Mizzou.

This parting thing — it doesn’t get any easier with practice.

Just sayin’.

 

Be Batman

Tuesday was registration day for seniors, so Younger and I spent a half an hour at his high school as he dragged himself from table to table.

At the first stop, the ladies gave Younger his schedule and said, “They have you in ceramics, Younger.”

“Uhhhnhhh,” Younger drawled, reluctantly accepting the paperwork. “No.”

So, we had to make a quick stop at the counselor’s table.

Eventually, we made it to the last stop — his picture for the yearbook. I tried to straighten his tie and comb his hair, while he ducked and grumbled, mortified. Then, with me laughing at him, he walked over to stand in front of the screen for his last school picture.

Afterward, we took a trip to the grocery store. And Younger, who had been slumped in his seat, suddenly straightened at the sight of a bicyclist riding against traffic, some length of material flapping behind him.

“Is that Batman?” he questioned, peering closer. “Is it? Oh.” He deflated. “It’s a vest. I thought it was a cape. I was excited for a moment.”

I’m not sure if he was excited at the prospect of seeing Batman or at the prospect of seeing some nut who thought he was Batman.

But a skinny guy in a flapping, yellow vest riding a wobbly bike the wrong direction is apparently a severe disappointment in Younger’s entertainment realm.

He’s a hard one to please.

 

Balancing Act

Younger had to entertain himself last night at the restaurant. So he begged a penny off of me and confiscated both of our forks.

Balancing Forks 2

He then trapped the penny between the tines of the two forks, pointing in opposite directions, then balanced his creation on the lip of his soda mug.

Balancing Forks 1

He was impressed with himself.

I asked him, “Do you know how many hands have touched that penny? And now that penny is wedged into my fork?”

“Well,” he drawled, “after a while, the number of hands is immaterial.”

He’s not nearly as clever as he thinks he is.

Well, he might be as clever as he thinks he is.

But he’s not as funny as he thinks he is.

I better not die laughing, anyway.