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As You Were

So, I spoke at church on Sunday. It felt great:  a) because I love me a microphone and b) because I really had something I wanted to share. Maybe I’ll try to write that bit up later. But for now, just try to picture a triumphant me marching down the sidewalk to my car. Jason had to leave for an emergency surgery mid-service, so I am alone and constantly admonishing all 4 boys with shouts of “Stay on the sidewalk!” (they didn’t). And “Don’t RUN!” (they did).

Jack shouts something about a rotten egg before making a sprint through the flower beds toward the van. Upon arrival (first) he opens the passenger side door which Sam promptly shoots through (2nd). Tom and Will are in a dead heat, and as they approached the finish line, the pushing and shoving begin.  Tom’s feet became tangled with Will’s within spitting distance of the goal. He winds up falling halfway into the van while Will skids across the pavement just behind.

Imagine my moment of elation and success slowly deflating as I revert back to my normal role of referee and emergency medic. Will’s knee is scratched and bleeding and he screams repeatedly at a decibel level slightly greater than your average jet engine that he is “terribly, horribly hurt” (he is not).  Tom sets up a wail in the background, and I turn to inform him bluntly that he is NOT hurt and should stop howling.

“But I lost my shoe under the van!” he sobs (he did…direct center).

As I’m wearing my good church clothes (in which I’m beginning to sweat profusely), I know I have no choice but to put everyone in the car, back the van out of the space, then get out to retrieve the shoe. I redouble my effort to hustle Tom and Will into the van, but they are having none. Clearly, I haven’t adequately addressed their respective concerns, so each determines to out-yell the other until their (unclear) objectives have been met.

In the midst of this burgeoning fiasco, a sweet and well-meaning family are attempting to introduce themselves and thank me for what I shared in church. As Will and Tom are both competitively caterwauling at this point, I have no idea who they are or what they they are saying, but I manage to pantomime the notion that there is a shoe located dead center beneath my mini-van’s chassis. Either I am a gifted mime, or they witnessed some part of the ordeal. Either way, their young son obligingly crawls under my vehicle, retrieves the errant shoe, and they continue on their merry way. I wonder if I’ll ever see them again, and if they’ll expect me to remember their names.

I put Tom’s shoe back on and order him into his seat. I manage to calm Will enough to get him buckled in with promises of copious amounts of antiseptic ointment and his choice of superhero bandage. I lecture them all on how very important it is to listen to Mommy then do what I say — especially when Daddy isn’t here to help.

Eventually, things are calm again. I’m standing in the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee and staring at nothing when Jack slips under my arm and hugs me around the waist.

“Sorry, Mom. It was all my fault. I’m the one who said ‘rotten egg.'”

“It’s not your fault, baby. You couldn’t have known anyone would wind up hurt.”

“Still…” He trails off and we sway for bit together. He giggles and I smile.

“Maybe next time, we could all stay close together and walk slowly. How about that?”

“Okay, mom.” Another tight squeeze, and he’s off to find his brothers in the play room.

All the elation of the morning is gone, there’s no doubt of that. But the everyday warmth of knowing my boys are growing into terrific young men? Well…that never leaves.

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2 Responses

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  1. Robin O'Bryant says

    Amen Sister Friend.

  2. Pauline says

    Love this. And you. And robin can totally stand up at our CP wedding.

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