…and he grew up.

This was my little boy – dirt on the face, shoes on the wrong feet…check out the knees of his pants.

This is the kid who

  • Pooped in the neighbor’s yard.
  • Boo-ed his siblings at a recital.
  • Ran away from home to avoid getting an immunization.
  • Pretended to be special-ed for weeks to get out of math, ending with a call from the school offering him special services.
  • Spit into the wind on an observation tower at Gettysburg National Battlefield, hitting an innocent observer square on the chest.
  • Thinking he was lost, ran screaming through Wal-Mart pushing a kiddie cart, me chasing behind him with my cart, yelling his name.
  • Sneaked down stairs on Christmas Eve to put coal in all our stockings.
  • Locked his brothers shoes in a hotel safe and forgot the combination.
  • Dumped my sister out of a kayak into a cold lake.
  • There’s more – I came up with this list in less than five minutes.

Last Friday, my little boy looked like this.  He successfully walked a beautiful young woman through the high school gymnasium as an emcee spoke of his glowing accomplishments. He actually gave a shout out to me, his mother.

I cried.  I’m still crying.  God is good.

Five Times My Kids Made Me Cry…Incident #4

While on vacation this past week, my mother-in-law reminded me of this repressed memory.

One of the kids outgrew his shoes and needed a new pair. Grandma was out for a visit so we loaded up the kids in our 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon for a trip to the mall.  (The Vanagon alone is sufficient material for a future post. Stay tuned.)

I wheeled the baby and the two year-old in the double stroller and the other three kids, seven and under, held on the to sides of the stroller as we made our conspicuous way up the mall. The nice lady at the shoe store fit my six-year-old with a gleaming new pair of tennis shoes.

This intolerable turn of events was unacceptable to his four-year-old brother.  He took one look at his brother’s fantastic new sneakers and let out a howl that stopped the mall traffic in their tracks.  He proceeded to throw a screaming tantrum of epic proportions.

“ME get new shoes.  Me no WANT him’s old shoes  ME WANT NEW SHOES!!!!”

With the exit door in my sights, I continued my slow and steady procession towards the Vanagon.  I could see the glares, the shaking heads, the tsk-tsking in my peripheral vision.  I pressed on.  Finally, we made it to the parking lot.  As I strapped and buckled the kids into their assorted seats, I noticed the perp wearing one shoe.

“Where is your other shoe?”  I asked

“Me thwew it away” he said with pride

I refused to be defeated by this brilliant yet diabolical move.  I squealed the Vanagon around and sat rattling at the curb while Grandma entered the mall on a search and recovery mission.   She successfully secured the sneaker from the third canister.

This child is now 6’6″ and a college track athlete. He receives an endless supply of new athletic shoes which he frequently gives to his older brother, further proving that God has a sense of humor.

Five Times My Kids Made Me Cry…Incident #2

Syringe 5 with drops.

This one’s a doozy.

One morning, I returned home after a PRAYER MEETING (this fact gains significance after you hear what my kid did) to find my ten year-old daughter sitting on the couch.

“Where’s your brother?” I ask

“He’s out riding his scooter” she replies

I think this a bit strange as it was 40 degrees out and not the best scooter riding weather, but whatever… he’s a kid right?  So I go into the kitchen to do a little cleaning.  As I am taking out the trash, I see the scooter leaning against the wall in the garage.  Hmm.  I go back to the couch-sitting daughter.

“When did you last see your brother?” I ask

“I don’t know.”

Detective Mom springs into action. Let’s see, I left for my meeting at 8:30am, it was now 10:30am. That means he had been MIA for 2 hours.  I started to feel a little nervous and called the neighbors to see if he was there.  Nope.  I rode my bike around the neighborhood calling his name.  Nothing.  I called Hubby at the office.  After some heated deliberation, (my crying, him saying “he’ll turn up”) we decided to call the sheriff.

The deputy took a full description and requested a recent picture of our son. They instructed me to stay at home by the phone.  My neighbors and their kids took to their bikes scouring the neighborhood and nearby library.  My husband, dressed in his suit, walked the small paths in the woods as the police cruiser drove up through fields and open areas.

I sat on our front step, praying, trying not to imagine the worst.  In 1989, Jacob Wetterling was abducted while riding his bike in a town just north of us.  He was never found.  Jacob was eleven, our son had just turned twelve.  I felt a rising panic.  I didn’t want to become a news story.  After an agonizing two hours, the sheriff called.  They had spotted our son walking along the highway near our neighborhood.  He was on his way home. I cried with relief as the police car pulled into our driveway with our son in the back seat.

The story he gave us was that he had decided to go for a hike.  He planned ahead and packed his school back-pack full of water bottles. Hydration is important, right? After a stern lecture from the cop, yelling from Mom and Dad, laughter from the neighbors, and sneering from his sister, we resumed our daily life.

I returned to the kitchen and noticed my calendar, open on the counter. A large SHOTS with the perp’s initials was clearly written in for 1:00pm.  It was now 12:45pm and we could just make it.  As I mentioned this fact, the perp went ballistic.

“NO, NO!!! I DON’T WANT SHOTS!!! NOOOOOOOO”

Ah, now it all made sense.  He had hatched this diabolical, yet poorly executed plan to avoid getting his shots. Well, not on my watch, Mister.

I hauled his sorry little butt to the car and turned up the radio to drown out his cries. I dragged him through the lobby of the clinic and into the exam room, ignoring the wide-eyed stares of the other mothers.  I sat, reading a magazine, as he quivered and pleaded for mercy. Innocently, I asked if they had a few more shots they could give him.  Unfortunately, the perp was up to date.  Too bad.

This incident inspired me to form a new calendar code system.  Now, no one knows what’s about to happen but me.  It’s better this way.

Sweating The Small Stuff

This morning, I wrote down the first memories that came to mind about each of my parents.  Here they are:

Dad

  • Making a little fire by the side of a fishing stream so I could dry my boots after falling in the river.
  • Taking eight-year-old me backpacking with my teenage cousins and bragging that I caught the biggest fish.
  • Tying ropes around my sister and my waists and letting us scoot down a steep hill and laughing while pulling us back up.
  • Letting me drive the car around in a horse pasture on Mother’s day and not getting angry when I scraped an old heap of farm equipment in the middle of the field.


Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Mom 

  • Taking us to the lake with a big cooler of sandwiches and drinks.
  • Serving as my Girl Scout leader, sporting a kelly green, polyester pantsuit.
  • Showing me how to mix up a very smelly fish solution to pour on her beautiful backyard flowers.
  • Making me grilled cheese sandwiches when I occasionally came home from school for lunch

So, there you have it, not very earth shattering.  But, those simple memories bring tears to my eyes.  I guess the small stuff really matters to kids.  I wonder what my kids will remember about me?