Dad’s Way

My husband has never really been the disciplinarian of the family. He tends to follow the whatever-you-want-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-kill-you-immediately path.

A long time ago, when we were still spending summer nights at baseball fields, Elder patted my side and asked, “Hey, Mom, after the game, can we get some ice cream?”

Exhausted, I relinquished my usual role of decision-maker. “Oh, Elder, I don’t know. Ask your dad.”

Elder threw up his arms in victory, ran to Younger, and announced, “We’re getting ice cream. Mom said to ask Dad.”

And I sighed a little.

Then the other day, as soon as my husband walked in the door after work, Younger asked, “Hey, Dad, did ya bring me some soda?”

My husband shrugged off his coat. “Now, what kind of father would I be if I encouraged your bad habits?”

“So . . .” Younger tilted his head, eying his father. “Yeah?”

“It’s in the fridge,” my husband admitted.

And I sighed a little.

Or maybe a lot.

I sigh so much, it’s hard to say any more.

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Bring It On

For the last eighteen years of so, Elder has been sensitive to any statement or question that implies a lacking in his moral code.

For the last ten years or so, he has loaded his bookcases with medals from regional and state math competitions, as well as spending a week for several summers at math camp.

For the last six months or so, he has worked at a local ice cream shop.

One might wander how these truths interconnect in one simple story. Well…

Last weekend, a customer walked into the shop with a coupon. She and her husband ordered the two ice creams named on the coupon but then added four additional toppings, two more than the coupon allowed. So, when he tallied up her bill, she immediately objected to the higher than expected price.

He tried to explain the coupon and the pricing.

She would have none of it.

“She didn’t believe me,” Elder later complained to his father. “She basically called me a liar.  And then,” he continued, his ire rising exponentially to the insult, “then she questioned my math.”

And it all went downhill from there.

Whatever the axiom may be, when you involve Elder, the customer is not always right.

Gimme a Smile

Last Sunday, I took my nephew to our church’s pool party. And we enjoyed ourselves, him playing in the water, me relaxing on the side. When his big eyes landed on me each time he surfaced, I cheered for his underwater flips and clapped for his belly flops. When he finally admitted he might be hungry, I unwrapped his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and found him chips and a grape soda. And when he returned to the water, I again went wild over graceful somersaults and undignified leaps.

Then it was time to leave.

In hopes of earning at least one more smile, I asked, “Do you want some ice cream?”

“From where?” his little voice drifted to me from the back seat of the truck.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. McDonald’s?”

A pause followed then, “Can we get something else at McDonald’s?”

“What else would we get at McDonald’s?” I questioned, distracted by pulling into traffic.

“Fries?”

“Sure, I’ll get you fries instead of ice cream. If that’s what you want.”

And he thought he had me then –– hook, line, and sinker. “And chicken?”

He’s trouble.

And I enjoy every minute of it.