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.

Seeing is Believing

A few weeks ago, Younger had a math contest — the same math contest where last year, after an accidental detour by the bus driver, he claimed to have seen camels. (Get It, Mom?)

We didn’t believe him, of course.

But this year, on our way to meet him at the small college for the award ceremony, we ourselves took a slightly different route. And, tired and a little grumpy, I watched the small towns and open fields pass by the passenger window with minimum interest.

Until I saw the shaggy brownish-yellow animals with the recognizable, undeniable humps gathered around one wire fence.

Blinking, I looked harder, nearly bumping my head against the glass. Then I glanced at my husband to find him also studying the occupants of the small field with disbelieving concentration.

My eyebrows slowly climbing towards my hairline, I returned my gaze to the window, murmuring, “The little bugger was telling the truth. He did see camels.”

Of course, when we told Younger we had spotted his camels, he grinned, shrugged, and asked, “Were they wearing leather jackets and smoking cigarettes?”

But, see, my problem is…if I have to believe Younger when he tells me that he saw camels on his way to a small college town in the middle of Missouri…

I’ll have to believe everything.

Like the dogs did eat his homework. Soda is good for us. And he really can’t live if he doesn’t play on the X-Box at least an hour a day.

Seeing is believing, after all. And I see trouble in my future.

And I believe in it, too.