I've already reported the difficulty I was having with keeping my Lenten vow of giving up my own agenda in order to be present for my child... to listen to him, to look when he says, "Look!" ...
Well, it's less than two weeks to Easter and I am here again to report that I have failed utterly. I know there is still time to make an effort in this area, but I'm actually not sure I'm up to it.
When I was sifting through the possibilities of what to give up for Lent, I toyed with several ideas, mostly of the giving up some kind of thing to eat or drink variety. But, honestly, I thought it would be too hard. Every time I give up sweets it just makes me crazy. Giving up fries... well, I thought that would be doable, but maybe not hard enough...? Giving up alcohol... ? Well, I'm not a drunk, for sure. But I do love a good beer or glass of wine with dinner sometimes. And if I am totally candid with you, I thought about how we're going to Williamsburg right before Easter and I didn't like imagining myself eating at Huzzah's without ordering this cute little local beer sampler they serve, or going to the Dog Street Pub and not trying some interesting Irish or Scottish beverage. Now that right there tells you alcohol would have been a good thing to give up. But I just didn't want to.
Instead I told myself I would exercise the discipline of dropping everything to listen to my child. How in the world did I think this would be easier than giving up alcohol, sugar or fries? I am here to tell you that giving up all three would have been easier than this herculean task.
Bill at the Dog Street Pub
with his butterbeer.
(Relax, it's non-alcoholic.)
I'm not kidding, my kid has a LOT to say. He tells stories about things that happened that day or years ago, spinning out an impossible web of details and character motivations. He can talk for hours on end. Literally. Yesterday he talked for several hours about an event that lasted maybe an hour... and happened three years ago on a vacation to Williamsburg... an elaborate tale involving a battle between factions of kids at the pool at the Woodlands hotel, water balloons and boats made from pool noodles. (Scroll down to an exact transcript of his oration about the boy-girl wars of second grade. Kids names have been obscured to protect the "innocent." Keep in mind that this is merely a 10-minute excerpt, then multiply it exponentially to get a feel for what it's like to hear this for several hours.)
A rare shot of Bill NOT talking
Sometimes I tell him I can't listen anymore and he says, "You don't have to listen." Then he keeps on talking. But you know what? Not only can't I listen to it all... I can't stand to hear it. I've been told by moms of older kids that when he gets older, I will long for him to talk to me... But having this head knowledge doesn't seem to keep me from wanting to put in ear buds and listen to the Who while he's talking.
Yesterday I told him he ought to write a blog since he had so much to say, but he dismissed this, saying, "I'd rather talk." Like I didn't know that. I'm pretty sure all this means I'm a horrible mom. Like I didn't know that either. In case you are getting the wrong idea, I do love the little rascal. He's creative, funny, sweet and as smart as a whip. He is a gift from the Living God. I know this. When I check on him in his bed at night I have to resist the urge to cover his face with kisses. Sometimes I don't resist the urge. BUT... I also know that I either need to figure out ... how to listen to him... or how to get him to reign in the chitchat. Either one is going to take a miracle... and/or lots of grace.
Again, I'm a horrible mom... and horrible moms need grace... lots of grace. And even though I can't fulfill this Lenten vow, I have definitely learned a lot about my need for God's grace.
It all started with the first attack, which would soon be known to be a horrifying thing. It wasn't horrifying then, but later we know what it turned into. So it all started when three girls thought it would be HILARIOUS to run up to a boys kickball game and start screaming, "We're going to hug you."
And, well, at that time, I had this really cool hat that I could see through, and I put it over my face and I didn't move, so no one could see my face, but I wasn't moving just in case I couldn't see something. So I crept over near the battle and hid in a bush. Well, I took my hat off and crept over there and put it back on and hid in a bush. And I watched them chase. And then my hat fell off and blew away and I ran after it. One of the girls saw me, but I grabbed my hat and, like, dived into the soccer field into the middle of a soccer game so they couldn't see me.
Then they did it to a boys soccer game, then the boys did it back on one of these weird play things that the girls did. And soon it became a terrifying war, but that was after this. Because when they attacked the girls' play thing it was a pretty big battle. It was the biggest battle so far. Not the biggest, but the one that had most of the chaos so far. But who knows what was yet to come. Then Christmas break started. When we came back there was a whole new boy army – except 2 recruits that had been there a long time ago: myself and my friend Henry. The army was Connor H--, Patrick B--, Luca K--, me and Henry K--, who is my best friend. And then we started fighting the same girls, except we heard of some trouble brewing near a place that... Well, no one who's friends with me or Henry should ever go there. It's called the Red Dome of Doom. All of me and henry's enemies hang out there. They usually hang out there and stuff. They always try to catch us in it, but they never really can because we always escape.
There was trouble brewing over there, but there was a war going on so we couldn't pay attention to it. We just didn't know who was causing the trouble. And then? The worst battle yet! Chaos! It was everything. People running around yelling that they were going to hug each other. At this point in the war, people actually had started being fast enough to actually hug people. It was really crazy. It was a huge battle.
Then, I figured out what the trouble was. Right when we started, there was a yell called, "Reinforcements! Come!" And then, suddenly, out of the red dome... Lauren P--, Lauren F--, Georgia S-- and Claire Heetderks joined the huge fight, lots of boys, but then, at the very end we were still outnumbered. Lauren P-- was actually threatening to kiss people. And so that's when I tripped – I felt doomed. Because she was right near me. And right when she was swooping down, I shot a gumball under her foot and she slipped and then I ran as fast as a fox.
The battle continued on for several recesses until the boys and girls finally just couldn't stand the same battle going over and over. Patch was losing command and he quit, then the all the battles - everything pretty much stopped. There was a moment of peace 'til the trouble started brewing again... near where it always brewed – the red dome. Then the three last very, very loyal tired soldiers continued the longing fight of the boy-girl wars – me, Bill Moore... that's what I'm called, that's what my name is... Henry K-- and Luca K--. They're all some of my greatest friends now. We ran up and battled some of the first soldiers til they quit. All except one. And Lauren P-- rose an army of some more. She got some more to join her. Abigail is the only one I can think of, but there were some more. So Evie, Grace and Louie had quit, but it was still lots of other girls. They had quit because they couldn't take it anymore and they had practically surrendered.
Then we had a huge battle, all along, and then we had maybe what I'd call a mortal blow. They started going after our last and best and our favorite base. Our only base. It's called West Tower. It was a climbing wall and you could see pretty far. It had been our only base when we had to retreat. We had kept girls captive there and done things like that. And then the girls were coming. I took a map and ran and buried it – don't really know the exact spot now. Then we had a huge battle and the worst thing happened there – West Tower became the girls'. Then we had huge, huge battles on the thing – Lauren P-- had a really big army at that time. It was on the play structure. Lauren P-- had a really big army – they were really violent. And so, we had to get special people. We couldn't carry on with just three people. We had to get people in first grade, because I was in second grade at that time – Their names were Trey... Trey was my old best friend but he got held back then I met Henry. Trey had two friends. As a very last resort, Garrett and Seb. But then, the battles continued and fought and then we had summer vacation and when we came back we made a peace treaty and then other wars came.