It was a night to remember.
About an hour ago, I was prepared to sit down here and amuse myself, and possibly you, with some of the finer details of my night here with the kids. Because it was a doozy. But the truth is, in the end there was very little that was funny about it because the boys were so overtired after an awesomely busy first day at camp that they pushed themselves and me well beyond The Limit, which stripped it of its humor.
Oh, okay, fine. I’ll give you this one vignette. It’s a small token of my affection for you. Just remember, it was only about 10-15 minutes of a scene that went on for about an hour and a half.
When Matt’s out of town I either take Gus out on a short walk right after dinner or as soon as the boys are asleep. I was so busy torturing them by making them shower and get to bed on time that I decided to wait tonight. Finally, I thought they were asleep after quite a lot of carrying on from Lyle, and so I headed out.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get farther than the front sidewalk before I realized I was hearing Lyle screaming my name through the open windows of the house. Gus did his business quickly and I ran back in with him. There was some insanity about both boys needing to switch beds and THERE’S VELCRO ON THIS COMFORTER COVER AND BUTTONS ON THAT OTHER ONE AND OH MY GOD SO MUCH DRAMA but finally I had them tucked into one big bed together, happy as little clams. UNTIL Lyle said something about loving me until I die (of course he had to say it that way, for he is Lyle) and then before I knew it the two of them were sobbing their hearts out about me dying. Baxter took it all to a new level, asking why I even BOTHER TO WORK WHEN SOMEDAY MY CLIENTS WILL ALL DIE AND WHAT WAS THE POINT OF SPEECH THERAPY ANYWAY IN THAT CASE?! and he also managed to work the iPhone into it, with something incoherent (remember THE SOBBING) about the inventor of the device dying and then WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT OF THE iPHONE and I made the mistake of wondering aloud what the connection was and so Lyle started to go on and on about the apps I use at work.
This is all true, Wonderfriends.
Even the dog was freaking out, running downstairs (where he isn’t allowed) to see what the commotion was all about. At least that’s what I thought at the time, although later when I got back upstairs to the kitchen I realized that the desperate look in his eyes and unusual mad dash to find me in the forbidden downstairs probably had more to do with the fact that he ACTUALLY HADN’T FINISHED HIS BUSINESS outside after all and had left me quite a treat on the kitchen floor. (Which reminds me to tell you I also learned tonight that a dog bears a very spooky resemblance to a human when ashamed. And that there are a great many benefits to having plain old hardwood floors in your kitchen.) Believe me, I was not mad at the dog, the poor guy has needs after all, and god knows they weren’t being met by this family tonight.
So anyway, that was just one small scene from the evening’s show. It got worse from there and escalated to the point where two exhausted boys were screaming at the top of their lungs at each other over bedcovers and I stormed down there not exactly at my best anymore. (TWO PARENTING LOWS IN ONE MONTH: SCORE!!)
And in the end, when they came back up to find me for the eleventy billionth time, both of them with circles under their tired, red-from-crying eyes, I realized that desperate times had called for desperate measures. “Pull up a couch, boys,” I sighed, and handed them sheets from the laundry basket in the living room. I set them up on couches with throw pillows under their heads and a sheet over them. I turned off the lights and Gus and I settled at Lyle’s feet on the longer couch. An incredible cool summer breeze was coming into the room and as their little sobs slowed I repeatedly told them that I wasn’t mad at them, everything was just fine, and that I loved them very much. Gradually they calmed, and even with an unbelievable amount of city noise coming into the room – for some reason, a great many emergency vehicles and even a hovering helicopter were all within a half block of us during this time – they both drifted off to sleep.
At that moment I was reminded that in the end, this scene tonight was not about who showers first, bothersome velcro and buttons, itchy tags and rashes, lights on or off, or even who’s hogging the covers of the bed you begged him to share with you. It’s about the need to be at peace in your heart after a long day in a new place with lots of unfamiliar kids and counselors and no parents, needing to know that your family is not going to stay mad at you no matter what, and a reminder that you can all be together cuddled on couches with a dog at your feet and a brother and a mom who love you close by, even when the world right outside the window is loud and frightening. I don’t know how we managed to come to that state of grace, but I’ll take it.