Drinking Icees, Slurping up forgiveness.

I check my Swatch watch when I wake up. It’s darling but it always needs to be wound so the time can’t be right. I putz about the bathroom and find my other watch. Oh mercy.

The kids are both still in their pajamas. They’ve probably watched 286 cartoons between the two of them today.

“Guys, Mommy slept in. It’s already noon. I’m so sorry.”
“WHAT?!”
“We missed my swim lesson?!”
“I know. I’m so sorry.”
“WE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!”
“No, baby, we just wasted the morning. Mommy forgot to set her alarm.”
“Mommmmmaaa, I wanted to go to my swim lesson!”
“I know. How about I make it up to you and we can go to Lake Winnie today.”

***

The kids are moving in slow motion and all I want to do is reverse the clock, sit down and eat a bowl of granola and drink coffee and not feel frantic. Swimsuits elude us. Applying sunscreen is work.

“What’s going on, Little Man? Can I help you?”
“Mom, I just feel grumpy.”
I’m proud that he has accessed a feeling instead of casting blame.
I sound like a self-esteem manual from 1989.
“Mom, I’m grumpy because I’m sad I didn’t get to go to swim lessons.”
“I know, Son. I hope you can forgive me. I messed up.”
“I forgive you.”

***

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We are walking back to the car. We have laughed, we have floated on the lazy river inner tubes several times. We have eaten funnel cake. We have had a good day.
“Mom, I’m still really upset I didn’t get to go to my swim lesson today.”
I don’t remind him that he got to shoot down a colossal waterslide, drink a giant Icee, and ride all the rollercoasters he could handle for the last six hours.
I don’t tell him that a whole afternoon at Lake Winnie beats any doggie-paddle lesson any day.
Instead I tell him the thing about forgiveness that is so hard to do.
“If you forgive someone, you can’t keep bringing it up. You know just like how God says when He forgives us, He casts our sins into the sea and doesn’t remember them anymore?”
“Yeah.”
“That’s what we have to do.”

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***

The next day he is unlocking the front door and turns to me as he opens it. “I forgive you for sleeping through my swim lessons, Mom.”

***

The day after that, he hugs me unbidden and says, “I still forgive you for sleeping through my swim lessons, Mom.”

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Inflating a pool, deflating my pride

You hear a lot of voices while you’re inflating the kiddie pool in the high noon sun. Most of them are saying,

You are a moron.

Why aren’t the kids helping you?

Was that a wasp?

You are still a moron.

 

You might even appreciate the irony for a moment, inflating the kiddie pool while standing on the surface of the burning sun, that you paid for a hot yoga class that morning, HAHAH, which is basically the same thing, HAHA, in terms of working out in a sauna and breathing hard. The only difference is that in hota yoga your outfit was cuter and at the end the instructor placed an ice cold towel on your head as she whispered, “Namaste….”

Then there’s always this one voice that seems to intone not in your head but in your heart and it says,

Don’t be mad about this. Don’t be mad about any of this. Don’t feel sorry for yourself for one second. This thing you’re doing for your kids–

That voice gets interrupted for a second because you just bumped your head on the beach umbrella you were trying to drill into the ground near the sad-looking kiddie pool so that the littles will have some shade.

I know you just hit your head, says the voice, and I know how that feels. But be tenderhearted anyway.

You go in the house and tell the kids you want to share something with them. They look slightly alarmed because you are all sweaty and, “Mom, we were watching Teen Titans–”

“You guys, so I got the pool all ready for you,”

“Yeah, thanks, Mama,” they pat my shoulder just to maybe tamp down the crazy I might unleash on them at any moment.

“So you know, as I was out there and I was sweating and getting injured just to do something nice for you guys, I was thinking about someone who suffered a lot doing nice things for me,

“Jesus?” they say.

“Yeah. And how I don’t always say thank you. So that was just a reminder of how even Mommy needs to say thank you to Jesus more.”

All I have is the Gospel. Again and again I’m fooled by pride that I’m the one making big things happen. But all I have is Jesus and the grace he floods me with, the air that he pours into my lungs each day, which I offer in trickles and spits and poorly inflated pools to the little ones who are on lease to me. All glory is his. Namaste, Peace be with you, and Amen.

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Six

Dear Little Man,

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Since you’ve been reminding us of your forthcoming birthday several million times a day for the last ten months, I cannot say it came out of nowhere. You woke me up this morning reminding me, in case I had forgotten in my dream, that today was the day. You were ready for your presents now, Mama.

This is you. You are always in a position to celebrate. There is no milestone, no holy day of obligation, no bank holiday that you are not ready to fete. You are poised to party at all times. You carve up a dance floor something fierce and have yet to meet a birthday cake you won’t destroy.

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This past year you’ve gotten big into Mario Brothers and all games in analog, spanking the competition in Memory, When Pigs Fly, Monopoly, Connect Four. I can’t tell which way you’re going to go in school, what subjects you really gravitate toward, but you seem to like storytelling which you definitely come by honestly, Son.

You still cannot swim. This does not keep you from cannonballing off the high dive at the pool, lifejacket strapped on.

All of this paints a picture of you as a rambunctious punk, but I have to say that you are one of the more tenderhearted lads I’ve met. You wept when you discovered that your beloved Hot Chocolate the Stuffed Reindeer had gone missing in the wild. Fortunately, we bought a duplicate on e-bay and when it arrived, you held it and rolled on the floor clutching it, like it was a soldier come home from the battlefield. You have since carried him everywhere and even if I attempt to move Hot Choc, you are quick to grab the deer close once more.

You stopped saying “Lemolade” this past year which made me a little sad, but you were explaining the different ups in baseball yesterday, referring to them as when you’re “batting” and “glove-ing” and I told you about hitting versus fielding but I secretly hoped you would continue on with glove-ing.

Your favorite person of all time is still Big Sis. Your happiest place is wherever you can be playing with her, copying her move, which drives her up the wall. In other words, you are a fully-vested Little Brother.

I’m excited for this summer and the year of growth, which is a very boring grown-up thing to say on a little dude’s birthday. If we ask you what you’re excited about in your sixth year of life, you would likely say¬†you are excited to see the Angry Birds movie, go to the beach this summer and work on becoming an eventual ninja. I mean, Duh.

We love you, Little Man x 6.

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Love, Mama

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