“Hey Ethan, please come pick up your shoes and put them away.”
“What? Don’t say ‘whatever’ to your mother when she asks you to do something.”
“Oh. Sorry. I meant to say ‘sure.’ It just came out the wrong way.”
“Uh-huh, yeah. Well, maybe you should think a little harder before you speak so you the wrong thing doesn’t come out of your mouth.”
I picked, pickled, snapped, and froze vegetables from our garden much of the day today. My hands are wrinkled and my thumbs are sore from shelling beans. The kitchen is hot from having three burners running full-throttle on the stove. Greg has spent his Saturday wrestling with a trencher reburying dog fence and throwing down with the car in order to change the thermostat.
As I trudged around cleaning up the disaster-stricken kitchen after my brief bout with domesticity, I realized something. It’s one of the last warm days of the year. The windows are open. I can hear the kids calling to each other outside as they play peacefully. The sun has washed everything with that particular golden glow it distributes in early fall.
I stopped in my tracks and smiled to myself while I savored the moment. These kinds of scenes, while omnipresent in sappy movies, are very rare in real life.
Those fleeting instants, however scarce, are very powerful. They forcefully remind me how happy I really am under the stress and the rushing and the day-to-day aggravation. Those are the moments that remind me of everything I have and how incredibly fortunate I am.
And that is when I remembered that the stress and rushing and day-to-day aggravation made that moment possible.
I wish I could have frozen that minute of time so I could revisit it again, take it out of my pocket and hold it close whenever I need it. But if I could do that, it would lose its power and I wouldn’t recognize another of those moments when it comes again.
So my memory of it will just have to do.
This is getting ridiculous. Those are gallon bags, by the way. GALLON bags. And the okra? That is about 2 day’s worth. We only have six plants. SIX!
But oh, how I will miss all this when it’s gone.
Happy 5th birthday, buddy.
We all love you very much.
Even though you’re like this much of the time:
and you pull this kind of crap every single day:
and your feet look like this.
Yes, it’s true, we still love you because all that is outweighed by this:
and even this:
And this whole ruining-the-cookie-cake-by-licking-the-icing-off-before-your-party thing was NOT FUNNY when you did it, and in fact sent your mother into a tearful tailspin, complete with a “whyyyyy do my children always shit on me?!” lament.
But it’s funnier now:
Never could I have imagined that someone your age would have such a sophisticated sense of humor and possess the kind of charm some older boys have that allows them to get by with pure orneriness. When people used to tell me boys and girls were nothing alike, I didn’t believe them. Now I know better.
You exasperate your caregivers – especially me – and I’m so tired at the end of the day just from keeping up with you.
And I couldn’t love you more.
I’m pretty sure I speak for Daddy and Laurel, too.
After Laurel managed to lose her lunchbox, several pencils, and at least one assignment in the first two weeks of school, we sat down at the table for dinner and this is what happened:
Greg: “Soooooo, Laurel, what did you lose today?”
Laurel: “My reputation.”
(at the fabric-cutting counter)
“Mom, mom, can I ring the bell?”
“Yes, you may. But ONLY ONCE.”
“Mom, can I ring it again? Huh? Can I? Please?”
“Because it’s rude to ring the bell repeatedly, and see, the lady is on her way over here.”
Fabric Lady: “Ma’am, may I help you?”
“Yes, I need…let’s see…4 1/8 yards of this…”
“…and 3/8 yard of this.”
“Ethan, don’t do that anymore.”
“Ethan! I said STOP IT. Why do you keep doing that after I tell you to quit?!”
“Sorry, Mom. That’s just the way I am. heh.”