My family spent the day at a town carnival. Let me state up front, I hate those things. The rides freak me out. And I don’t know how they do it, but they always seem to find guys with missing or damaged teeth and tattoos to run the rides.
Fortunately, my sons are way into going on rides together. Even still, I came prepared with some malox tablets in case I got called into action. My boys are pretty daring, but today I learned there are limits.
Let’s put it this way, as I heard my sons get locked into the “zipper”-a cage like object that flips and flops upwards, I had some doubts. But this is why God gave us “denial.” And then I heard the shouts from the sky, “get me out of here!!!!” Yes , those were my sons.
The carny reassured me he was bringing them down.(pause-who you may rightly ask-seeks parental “reassurance” from a carny.) He said, “the little one was a bit under height regs, but I planned to keep an eye on him.” And then he pointed out, “this rides been around for a long time, so long. In fact, I remember it from when I was kid…..I just never realized I’d be operating one of these things. ”
As our kids came running into our arms, I knew what they were thinking…”WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU_HOW COULD YOU LET US GO UP IN THAT CAGE!!!” And that is when I knew, unlike many teachable moments, this was a therapy moment. One I imagine we’ll be hearing about for many years to come.
The bags are packed. The DVDs and Cd’s have been collected . We will be leaving for summer vacation. We will drive 19-20 hours with our 7 and 5year old boys. It will begin with tremendous optimism about the journey. The car will be spotless and have that fresh new car smell. We will fill our stomachs with healthy snacks,bottled water, and fruit.
But sooner than we expect, we’ll stop at a highway Mc Donald’s. At first, we’ll stick to salads, fajita sandwiches, and happy meals. We’ll continue to be hopeful as we arrive at the U shaped halls of the Comfort Inn. We’ll adapt to the musty curtains, heavy floral print sheets, covers, and erratic air conditioning because its our first night on the road. And as the the kids jump from bed to bed, I will complain about the room. My wife will then remind me that we’ get a free breakfast in the morning. And then all is good.
No doubt, we’ll be shocked to see how many people will be sharing our carbo loaded “free” breakfast with us. The kids will be excited about the unhealthy cereal choices and doughnuts. And my wife and I will remark on this amazing product called, “waffle off.” While we’ve never seen it anywhere else in the world, we always find it at the Comfort Inn’.
What you may ask is “Waffle Off?” It is a spray used to clean off the waffle makers in between uses at the “Cont Breakfast,” (continental breakfast.) However I’m still unclear as to which continent started this breakfast tradition.
After filling up our tummy’s and the tank, we’ll continue our journey until one of the boys shouts, “why we aren’t at Grandma’s house yet?”
It’s late, my 5 year old should be in bed. But he came charging into our room, jumped on the bed and asked, “why did God make under ware?” I love that he asked that. My older son once asked, “does God have to brush his teeth?”
I can’t believe I have one of those kids I’m used to seeing on TV shows. The ones where they point out that kids say the darnedest things. He’s the kid that lets me know if “Mr. Nobody” has joined us for a meal.
For someone who is used to being the cynical observer of life, its humbling to have such a cute kid. He often gets this very serious look, and then says,”dad, dad, I have to tell you something you don’t know.” I think I now understand why you want some kids to stay kids as long as they can.
And by the way, why did God create under ware?
When life gets overwhelming, it helps me to slow down, and keep things simple. So I think I’m going to apply that rule to my struggle with coming up with something to write about.
My son wanted to find some youtube videos to send to a friend. He selected Rob Zombie, Dragula, OkGo, Here we go again, a young Beat boxer doing beat boxing and a drum battle between Gene Krup and Buddy Rich. My favorite was OK Go. But my favorite one that we did not use is about people from ages 1-100 hitting a drum.
Why? It’s sweet. It’s simple. And I like drums.
While getting breakfast ready, my oldest son and I were talking about his last day of school. I asked if he was doing anything special for it. He didn’t know, but then he glanced at his schedule from the past year. As he did, he started saying, “no more reading, no more math, no more p.e, no more tech time, and so on.” And as he was talking, I could hear Alice Cooper in my head singing, “School’s out for Summer.” But my son doesn’t know that song.
So I wondered if this is how Alice Cooper came up with the words to song. As my son was running down the list and continued to say, “no more…,” I gave an invisible high five to Alice Cooper for getting how it feels to end a school year. Now clearly, Cooper was identifying more with the relief of the drudgery being over than the sadness of ending relationships and positive learning community.
I debated telling my son about the song. I guess I want him to extend his love of school for as long as he can. He’s got time for it to be a grind. He’ll find his cynical voice in time. For now, it’s enough for him to know there is a song out there that uses words similar to the ones he used to capture the end of the year. When I told him, he responded by asking me, “Alice Cooper? Isn’t he the guy who did ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ on the Wayne’s World Cd?”
So much for the age of innocence.
P.S.- Do you know how hard it is to find an interesting interpretation of this song?
More than a year ago, I volunteered my wife and I to coach my sons soccer team. We’d never done it before. We didn’t know the kids, the families, or the rules about getting the best uniforms. So in essence, we were rookies and we had a team with the ugliest uniforms in the league.
But we won, and then won again, and eventually the season came to an end…today. And we didn’t lose a single game. I know you win some and you lose some, but when the kids, families, and ugly uniforms come together with a string of victories, it sure feels good.
So here’s to the champions!
As part of our Memorial day tradition, we have taken to flying kites. It began several years ago when we went to a city wide kite festival near the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It was an amazing site to see kites of all colors and sizes floating in the sky. There were dragons, box kites, and everything you needed to make a kite and take off.
So yesterday, we met up with some friends along Lake Michigan, and let the fun begin. We were well equipped with our $1.99 kites from Walgreen’s. Some of our friends brought the big Chinese dragon kites. Others had the super powered rocket ships. And one even had a kite that not only flew, but was constructed to sound like a buzzing bee. Some barely got off the ground, but our Walgreen’s kite touched the clouds and seemed very reluctant to come down.
You remember that line from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, they will come.” Wow, is that ever true for kites. Despite open fields, soccer games, and playgrounds; kids from all over came over to watch the kites. They wanted to put them together, touch them, and hold them in flight.
At one point, this very lonely boy, came by and asked to hold the kite. Despite my request that he hold on tight, he, of course let go. However two older boys ran after it in this jumping, laughing, silly manner. They seemed sure they could catch it. But …..the kite flew away.