“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hopper Balls

Today as I changed the kitchen garbage, I heard thuds coming from the next room.  Then I heard THUMP!  THUMP! and a scream.  There was a time I would have panicked at these sounds, dropped what I was doing and gone running.  But today I simply finished pulling the filled garbage from the can, tied the knot on the bag, and replaced it with a new one. Then I slowly moved to the next room, bracing myself.

You know those hopper balls?  The big balloon shaped things with handles that kids sit on and bounce around with?  Well, my two sons were beating each other with them.  It wasn't a vicious game; both were giggling wildly as pictures flew off the walls and things came crashing to the ground around them.  But, in the moment that I took a deep breath before yelling, "STOP!" I thought to myself, "Why would anyone DO this with their hopper ball?"

In grade school, I always thought it was so stupid when the boys would use their pencils like swords.  Hellooooo???  Clearly dangerous!  Did they not hear the teacher tell the story of the kid who poked his eyes out?  

Joey and Noah have pencil sword fights.  They usually end with me shrieking hysterically that they're going to poke their eyes out.

The worst, the ABSOLUTE WORST, is the potty talk.  It's insane!  No matter what I do, say, try, tell, or teach them, they think poop is hilarious.  Anything, from a ketchup bottle to the real thing, that sounds even remotely like flatulence sets them to fall over on the floor laughing.  Butts are a riot.  And here's one I just don't get: armpits.  Why are armpits funny?  Joey is six and Noah is three.  What do they know about armpits?  

They throw things in the house.  They never walk, they only run.  They leap off the furniture.  They never use the bottom step.  Everything is a race or a contest.  They yell.  They whoop.  They try to fly.  They burp.  They pass gas.  They tell me how big their poop is.  They lay in their pajamas with their hands down the front of their pants.  They think blood is awesome, and kissing is gross.

I now live in a house where the bathroom is a scary place to be.  

In my moments of despair, where I feel like a princess not in a house filled with knights but with dragons, Joe says, "Yes, it's all true.  But you know what?  They like me.  They want to hang out with me.  But they need you."  

I never would have guessed that in all their mischief, these little boys would stop, mid-run, and whisper in my ear, "You're beautiful."  Without my little boys and all the strife they bring me, I would never know the magic of one of Noah's "Teeny Tiny Kisses," where he becomes completely still, turns his head, and gives me the sweetest little boy kiss ever.   At night, when Joey is afraid and can't sleep, there is no one he wants but me, and is not satisfied until I have covered the room in "Mommy Magic" to make it safe for him.  When they are daunted by new things, they look over their shoulders to see if I am watching, to hear me say, "It's okay.  You can do it."  It is their wild absolute boyishness that makes these moments of softness more than special--it makes them, well, heart-wrenching.  Like someone is squeezing more love into my heart than was ever meant to fit.

Sometimes when I talk with friends, they ask me, "Do you think you'll try for a girl?"  I always believed I was meant to have girls, but now I know better.  If God wants me to have a girl, I will love her and love the chance to raise someone who will probably be much different from her brothers.

But truthfully, it's not in the plans.  When I look at my two little boys with their messy hair and shiny eyes, my cup runneth over, and I need nothing more than what I have.

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