Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stopping to smell the roses....

In this life of raising up children where there will predictably be many surprises, I am delighted by two that have happened this week.  Maybe these are less a matter of surprise, more a matter of paying attention, stepping back, observing, and stopping to smell the roses.... either way, they were wonderful little unexpected occurrences.

The other day, Aidan and Leo got off the bus full of stories about a neighbor who was "mean" to Leo during the ride home. I heard their complaints, listened to the report of how Aidan came to Leo's defense, then talked them through what I thought was a pretty mild exchange on the bus, and how they might handle the situation differently next time.  Ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door, and an entourage of neighborhood kids and dogs were there to greet me when I opened the door. They wanted to talk to me about what happened on the bus (read: tattle) but my spidey-teacher-senses kicked in right away and I quickly realized there was no room for a grown up in this battle.  I suggested to the spokesperson of the group (who was uninvolved in the bus incident) that I ask Aidan and Leo to join them outside, and meanwhile, that they wait on the porch, as their dogs were scaring the daylights out of our poor cat Alice, who was tensed up to six times her normal size.  Everyone agreed as the boys stepped out to join them.

I'm nobody's fool, however, and have been on both sides of this turf war line.  And so I made myself quite busy on the porch, in full view but quickly forgotten by the kids as they began to hash it all out.  Back and forth they went, and what it amounted to was a whole lot of venting with not much substance.  I could not figure out how this would ever end, and no one seemed to be very upset about anything.  Suddenly, the spokeswoman of the group interjected quite happily, "Excuse me, I'm sorry to interrupt, but can I just say that I love your garden?  Your flowers are really beautiful!"  Aidan immediately relaxed his arms to his side, his face brightened and he responded cheerily, "Thank you!  This year is our best garden yet."  All heads turned to look at the flowerbeds, and after a minute, the entourage began to walk away.  Recovering from nearly falling over the railing in my surprise, I came out of the corner and said, "Hold on a minute, was everything worked out here?"  Nods all around.  "Does everyone feel good about getting on the bus tomorrow and seeing each other?"  More nods, and grins.

Never in a bazillion years would it have occurred to me that I should simply direct everyone's attention to the flower beds.  Bless you, spokeswoman, you.  I see a long future for you, as a United Nations peacekeeper, perhaps, or an ambassador, or a diplomat.  Just be sure your office has plenty of sunlight for all those plants you'll need.

Our master bath has a large whirlpool tub that doesn't get a whole lot of use, but that the kids looove to use whenever they're offered the chance.  It usually houses plants I'm trying to coax back to life (my green thumb turns brownish indoors) and therefore, it's usually dirty - with literal dirt.  After a thorough clean of the bathroom in the morning, Pax asked excitedly if he could have his bath in the tub that evening.  I said of course! knowing that Jeff would be doing baths tonight, and he has a soft spot for giving in to Pax's requests, however inconvenient they are.  When I returned home from tutoring after the kids were already tucked into bed, I spotted the toys Pax had chosen to bring with him to the new tub.  Of all the choices he had, including Batman, a racecar driver, a carnival ride operator, and a zookeeper, Pax chose these two:
Mary, Mother of Jesus, and Wonder Woman.  What a pair!

In my quest to raise sons who are feminists, who value women, who  work for their equality, who honor the contributions women make to this world, Pax's choices for his playtime companions are pretty perfect.       

1 comment:

gthiele said...

Mary and Wonder Woman...the perfect pair!! Mary was the first "Wonder Woman" !!

Love, love, love the flower bed saga...perfect!