Gray. It’s what’s outside.
And rain. Good heavens… It’s out there, too.
But blocks…the ones we build and stack with, the ones that have grown in interest the soggier the grass has gotten, the ones we can balance on top of each other with a shaky hand and that clatter to the coffee table just as we say, “hey, look how tall I made mine”–those blocks, well, they’re inside. And since the sun is shining somewhere else, we’ve found ourselves inside, too.
Which doesn’t mean that messing with blocks serves as some consolation prize to running free in the backyard or ranks barely above ‘nothing else to do.’
Because I’ve seen our kids create for half hours on top of half hours, structures that seem scarcely more than a mix of blocks end on end–until, I was told they’d created people–each one different than the next. Some taller. Some fatter. Some with big heads and wide legs. And…
and I could only gasp at a couple of imaginations effortlessly finding the fun in a box of blocks.
Time I use mine to pretend I see the sun.
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It isn’t so much that our daughter is reading to her queasy brother bundled in his train blanket on the couch, though that would be enough. Nor is it that she’s on her third book.
It’s that deep inside she’s a helper and a giver…and, well…sometimes the pull is strong.
Which was why she slipped from the lunch table without notice to kneel by her brother. And which is why when I heard her sweet voice, I dissolved the last of my chip instead of chewing.
I didn’t want to miss the moment–this smidge of sunshine amidst the rain.
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I don’t remember the song being called “The Snake Charmer.” But then what I remember with the same tune didn’t have a name at all. Because…
because it’s jingles like these that don’t really go out of the consciousness once they’re in there. Neither do the words.
And so as my daughter’s piano teacher assigned her “The Snake Charmer” saying, “I bet your mom knows this song,” I didn’t know how such a nice lady could set me up.
Hum along if you want. I’ll only get you started. “There’s a place in France where the…la la la la la…”
Only there was no way I was singing this for my seven year old. Which was when I deferred the little ditty to her dad…heh. Who snickered because he apparently knew more than one verse.
But in pre-tween language, I listened as my husband gave a simple explanation about our bodies and how God made them. Perfectly. Without shame.
And then because the elusive words still hung in the air like an elephant, we shared the first verse about France with our daughter, who belted out the biggest laugh. Because…
because it was funny.
Then three or four snorts later and because it was time, we closed the chapter on “The Snake Charmer.”
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The peep show didn’t last long.
But then its only performer had only one act. And the act, mind you, wasn’t going to make it to any other stage.
Uh…a mother can hope.
I’d rounded the stairs at the same time my son showed up on the landing wearing–technically nothing–except his sister’s dolphin necklace dangling from his weanie. “Look at this, mom,” he’d beamed.
And, well, I’d looked. And…I’ll be darned if he hadn’t found himself a new necklace holder…ahem.
By which time I had him show his father, such that the two of us could exchange a proud thumbs up…as…
there wasn’t much else to do.
Besides reporting to me this morning, before I’d even thrown a leg out of bed, that she’d let her brother use the pink bowl for his cereal–the coveted pink bowl, of which we have one, my daughter went into ultra-help mode around nine a.m.
I didn’t get it.
And I didn’t ask.
I just watched as she twirled downstairs in a pink dress and returned upstairs with a rag so she could scrub the bathroom sink.
By which time her brother wanted to help by manning the squirter with the cleaner and…she let him. That she would graciously fold kitchen towels, scoop up library books, turn my soccer socks right side out–a job I can’t even stand– and pick up puzzles…bolstered my own energy. Because…because when I looked behind me, things were still in order. As in, ain’t nobody just dumped out the blocks I just spent ten minutes puttin’ away.
When she made a little crown tonight out of her new puzzlebits and fit it to her head, nothing seemed more appropriate.
She’d certainly been my princess all day long.
The real gem today wasn’t so much the new park we visited in the middle of a cloudburst–though the little bike trails were nice. It was the visit to the port-a-potty where my daughter blurted indiscreetly that she had to drop a log. By which time I shuddered.
That the zipper on her coat would choose the same moment to unravel itself from the bottom and that I would get a four minute workout trying to ram the zipper’s teeth into submission while bent in half, only to pull the whole coat over my daughter’s head, was, well, awesomeless.
Not to be out-done, my son would attempt to fill our septic tank on a single visit to the bathroom. By which time he would claim he did not need help wiping and would consequently flush all but a few sad squares down our own toilet. And…
and as the the rest of us waited for the toilet to burp or choke or die, the thing filled itself with water and practically smiled.
Which is what I’m doin’ now…
because two kids who wipe–or at least give it a try–means ain’t nobody in diapers ’round here.
And, well, Glory Hallelujah…A–MEN.
FOUR years ago, God blessed our socks off.
At 9:16 in the morning–(but who’s looking at the clock-heh), he gave us this guy–the one behind the chair at the library–all nine crying pounds of him.
And the truth is…
we’ve never been the same.
Nor has the dog.
Or the cat.
Definitely not the cat.
Or my swelling heart when my son says, “I made this just for you, mommy.”
That he would be my dishwasher helper…
his sister’s exercise partner…
as well as her roadblock on the way to the bathroom is just, well, who he is.
That he would jump from the pool to hog the picture…
and then expire on the second click… simply makes reason number 974 thousand why we love him.
Happy Birthday to our sweet son.
We aren’t the Munson family without him.
It happens every March. The itch for berries.
Fresh ones. The kind that grow haphazardly on branches or in patches in our backyard. The kind that, glancing at our backyard, are nowhere close to budding because we haven’t seen the sun for months. And because, well, it ain’t July.
But God bless California whose berries, though no permanent replacement for the western Washington ones we’re drooling for, are being harvested now and trucked up to Fred Meyer five miles from our house. Because…
because they make my kids dance. And because they cause delighted conflict when my son licks all the big ones, so that no one else will want them.
Only his sister claims she still does.
Which leaves me to conclude that what matters around here isn’t the amount of saliva on the berry.
But simply its size.
We’d hardly left preschool, when on the straight-stretch a mostly-white beater caught up with us and matched us rpm for rpm.
Only, c’mon…this thing had nothin’ on our van.
At the red light, when the driver of the two-door beater shifted from first to second and backfired, I scrambled for anything to jam in my ear. My son…
my son perked up to the same racket, and with a finger that stretched across his sister’s face, he shouted, “COOL CAR!”
By which time I glanced back out the window to confirm that there indeed was nothing cool about this car. Especially its non-muffler. But as the beater shifted six more times and accelerated an inch ahead of our van in the lane beside ours, my son couldn’t stand it any longer and he yelped, “Mommy, catch that fast car!”
Only I slowed to turn. And my son…
my son ogled after the noise (BRMM–RUMMM–RUMM–RUMMM) he found innately beautiful.
I made macaroni and cheese tonight. The homemade stuff. The kind that begins with butter and gets serious with the cheese. A whole bunch of cheese.
The kind of macaroni my kids snub with wrinkled noses because it doesn’t taste like the box kind. Or as my daughter put it after the taste test, the kind she couldn’t tell if she liked or not.
Only she decided she didn’t. But it took three bites.
Which just meant more for my thighs. By which time I jiggled up from the table and got seconds.
My kids, meanwhile, sang the praises of Annie’s mac and fake-cheese. And for a moment, there wasn’t an unpleased palate at the table.
until I mentioned the salad.