Nekkid Horses

Here is an old story from 2001 when Elder would have been not quite five years old and Younger not quite two . . .

Younger loves Toy Story I and II and, therefore, he loves all the related toys — Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head, Rex the Dinosaur and Bull’s Eye, Woody’s Horse. One Saturday, the boys and I decided to visit Mama and Papa — and my sister and nephew who were also at the house. On my way out the door, I grabbed Younger’s toys but I deliberately left Bull’s Eye’s saddle at home, as I figured it could easily be lost among all of Mom’s toys.

Once we were at Mom’s, I scattered the toys on the table in front of Younger then proceeded to converse with my sister as she made cookies. After a moment, my nephew appeared at my elbow to inspect Younger’s toys. Pointing at Bull’s Eye, he told me, “I have one of those.”

“Oh, you do?”

“Yep.”  He nodded. “But mine’s not nekkid.”

So, later, having heard my nephew’s comment, Elder dug through the basket of toys beside our sofa until he found the saddle. Unaware that I watched, he firmly stuck the saddle on Bull’s Eye back, muttering, “Well, now he’s not nekkid.”

But, you know, if horses without saddles are nekkid, I pass a farm on my daily trip to work that has some sorely embarrassed animals.

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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’.

 

Wake Me Up

Since  Elder started kindergarten, I have always worked my schedule so that I was with the boys before and after school, except for the two years I worked part-time at the local army installation. But, now, for the next few months, I am again working part-time at the local army installation.

And, Monday, I had four hours of training and would leave with my husband long before the boys were awake for the day.

So, Sunday night, I told the boys, “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Okay, Mom,” they responded, their eyes never leaving their Smash tournament taking place on the television screen.

I finished some laundry then wandered back into the living room, halting behind the sofa. “Okay, well, good night, I guess.” I paused, folding my arms tight against my chest. “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Yeah, okay, Mom.” Neither one glanced in my direction, buttons clicking beneath their busy fingers as their Nintendo characters engaged in an apparently fierce battle. “Good night.”

I sighed. “Night. Love you.”

“Love you, Mom.”

And I retreated to my bedroom. “I worked hard to be here every morning their whole lives,” I told my husband, grumpily. “And they can’t even act sad about tomorrow.”

My husband offered that tolerant smile he has when he thinks I am being less than reasonable. “They’re eighteen and twenty-one,” he reminded me, gently.

“But I was supposed to get something out of it, too,” I wailed.

I guess he didn’t think that was any more reasonable, judging by his patting of my head.

Men.

They understand nothing.

Nothing.

And I am surrounded by them.

Love All Your Pieces

Elder turned twenty-one yesterday, so today I thought I would share one of my favorite moments with him when he was only five years old and I could still ignore the fact he would soon grow into a man . . .

Last night as I readied Elder for bed, I gave him a hug and a kiss.  Then I told him, “I love you.”  Without responding, he turned towards the bedroom, so I caught his arm and repeated, “I love you, Elder.”

“Mom,” he said, looking up at me with sincere blue eyes.  “I love you like a balloon that gets too full and pops.”

“Oh,” I murmured, both touched and impressed by his metaphor, not to mention the arms that he had spread wide to indicate the size of the balloon.

“And then,” he continued, dropping his arms and walking away, “I love all your pieces.”

. . . And for twenty-one years my love for him has filled and popped many, many balloons.

And I love all his pieces.

 

 

Define Normal

From the age of two, Elder has had the habit of sitting on his heels, crouched in the position of a baseball catcher waiting for a pitch. When playing video games, he perched on the carpet, sitting crouched on his heels. When eating at the kitchen island, he balanced on the high chairs, sitting crouched on his heels. When reading a book, he settled on the floor, sitting crouched on his heels.

As he has grown older and, more importantly, taller, the habit faded.

I thought, anyway.

The other day, after work and before joining his friends, Elder disappeared into his bathroom to shave his beard. A few minutes later, needing to run the Roomba and not wanting the little robot to jump the divider between the open area around the stairs into the bathroom, I reached to shut the door he had left open.

Only to pause in mid-stretch when I found Elder perched precariously on the counter over the bowl of the sink, sitting crouched on his heels.

“What?” he queried, meeting my eyes in the mirror, pausing with the electric razor hovering over one cheek.

“Nothing,” I blinked, shutting the door slowly. “Nothing. Just clean your mess.”

“Sure, Mom,” he agreed, easily.

Recently, apparently, (I discovered after discussing my experience) Younger wandered into the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning, startled to discover his older brother brushing his teeth, balanced on the sink counter, sitting crouched on his heels. And, also apparently, this imitation of a catcher is a more alarming sight when it greets a person suddenly and unexpectedly with the flick of a light at two o’clock in the morning.

And, again apparently, Younger has learned to control certain urges until dawn has broken the horizon.

“A gargoyle, Mom” Younger whispered. “I thought he was a gargoyle.”

I’m not sure what normal is, exactly.

But I’m pretty sure we aren’t the definition of it.

 

 

 

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.

 

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.