Of Boys and Butterknives

 

Can I just say, there are days when I worry about whether I am raising my boys right? Ok, ok, there are LOTS of days when I wonder if I’m raising my boys right. They aren’t exactly docile, they fight like crazy, always seem to be missing half of their clothing, and enjoy exuding smells that only their daddy finds pride in. But yesterday, yesterday I experienced them in a way that gave me hope that maybe I’m not doing everything wrong.

We had been having a great day. There had been minimal arguing (less than the usual anyways), overall productivity, and a general sense of happiness. The twins were excited for school starting the next day. So was Steven but when you’re entering the fourth grade, it simply isn’t “cool” to like school. Eye roll. We had visited our new teachers at school, bringing supplies and treats, and then headed to my parents’ house for a quick visit. The afternoon went as usual, Hope went down for her nap, and I settled in with my iced coffee and waited for Franz’s lunch time call to check in.

We had just barely finished our hellos when another call beeped in. It was an AT&T tech, coming to set up our service, and he was calling to ask me to come outside as our inappropriately friendly dog was greeting him with his customary jumping and sniffing. Normally I have the dog inside the yard if I know someone is coming to do work, but I hadn’t expected anyone that day. The lady I had talked to on the phone had said they would turn it on remotely, never mentioning a technician, so I was unprepared for this now very annoyed and surly stranger standing in my driveway.

What followed is what romantic comedies are made of. Slapstick, confusion, and a lady crying in her laundry room floor. Sometimes I wonder if this is really my life. This is probably a good time to mention I really don’t function well when I feel like someone is mad at me. It makes me all panicky and…well, just keep reading.

As the cranky man went about his business, I frantically tried to get the dog corralled. At one point I had him by the collar, and bellowed at the twins (who, of course, were riding their bikes around the driveway in their underwear) to come push the garage door button. If only it were that simple. The garage door insisted there was something blocking it and refused to shut. Still keeping hold of the dog I checked the door, nothing there. Try again! I called to Ryan, who was manning the button. He obediently pushed the button…seven times in quick succession. Darn door still wouldn’t shut. The dog broke free of my grasp.

I heard the tech grunting in annoyance and came around the corner to find the dog with his paws on his back attempting to lick his face. The tech’s eyes were about to pop out of his head, and he was growling in frustration. All I could think for a second was how much he reminded me of Chris Farley, it was uncanny. Grabbing the dog’s collar, I successfully drug him back to the garage and continued my attempts to block him in somewhere, anywhere that would keep him out of the way. Trying to not feel like a complete crazy person, I muscled up to Franz’s quad to attempt to push it in front of the dog door, and felt a sharp pain in my toe, right as the tech came back into view. Ignoring the blood that was starting to appear, I was still tugging on the quad, and the tech, in apparent disregard for my obvious stress, was continuing to huffily ask me questions and watch me. Trying to stay nice, I led him into the yard, and finally managed to get him into the house and went back to my task. I didn’t see the ginormous puddle of water the twins had made in the garage floor. Slipping and sliding, I barely managed to keep my footing, using the car to catch myself. Glancing down at my toe that now had a third of the nail missing and blood covering it, it was all I could do not to burst into tears. Why is my husband never here in these moments??

As soon as the tech left to go work on the junction box at the road, I sank to the floor in the laundry room and just cried. Cried because I was overwhelmed, because I was tired, because the tech was rude, because I felt like a fool, because I missed Franz, and because my gosh darn toe hurt like the dickens. It wasn’t long before I felt small hands on my back. “What’s wrong mama?” I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I wailed like a baby, but oh I did. I told them exactly why mama was crying. Ryan went to the next logical person in a crisis:

“Bubby!! Mom is crying!! She has a booboo!” His brother came running to assess the situation.
“You make an ice pack, I’ll get a band aid.” Kasey never left my side, sitting there with his hand on my leg, comforting me. The three of them hovered over me, so gently providing care, and sweetly telling me everything was going to be alright. Towards the end I was crying more from sheer pride in them than anything else. It was precious.

A little while later, after I had called Franz back (cried again, obviously) and pulled myself together, I went to check on the twins outside. I found them pacing back and forth in front of the garage with butter knives. They informed me they were “guarding the house to protect you from that mean guy.” While I officially objected to their weapon of choice, I was incredibly moved that these two tiny warriors were ready to protect their mama from the “enemy” with nothing but cutlery, underwear and sheer determination to help them. I ushered them inside before they had a chance to brandish their “swords” at the returned tech, who now smelled of cigarettes and seemed in a much better mood.

As per usual they drove me crazy the rest of the day with their fighting, but I kept going back to the moment when they were a little team, sweetly helping their mama feel better. After they went to bed, I stared down at the crooked band aid Steven had carefully placed on my toe, and felt comforted in the idea that beneath their complete boyishness, little men were already starting to grow.

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My Little Heroes

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