Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” exclaimed Isaiah.
We keep waiting for the day when the principal will award him with the key to the school, a mere token act acknowledging his role as the Godfather there.
His scratched up bike helmet looked as if it had saved his life a number of times- most recently this afternoon, when he came peddling around the corner and skidded to the ground on the pebble driveway. He didn’t cry. Then again, it’s only a two foot fall for a five year-old. I had been watching him from my yard, chasing after his older brother and friends. I noticed his bike seat needed a boost. He followed me through the house to the garage to get a wrench. Still curious about the day in his kindergarten kingdom, I asked again.
“How was your day at school, Zay?”
“What does good mean?” I propped the bike up and began to loosen the seat. I secretly hoped the age-old tactic of an activity might grease up his heart and get the guy talking about his feelings.
“Just good, okay.”
I needed to watch myself. Unlike Marlon Brando, Isaiah doesn’t need any henchmen to get his point across. I focused on the task at hand and realized that I had forgotten “lefty loosey, righty tighty”. I reversed my direction with the wrench. I gripped it tighter and the seat came loose. Isaiah watched closely, though he offered few words. Finally he chimed in some wise advice that, for the life of me, I cannot remember. I only recall my response, “Wow, that’s pretty wise, Zay. Did you learn that in kindergarten?”
“Nope,” replied Mr. Long Winded.
“Did you just learn that in life?”
“Well Zay, you should blog about it.” The backstory here is that Isaiah wrote his first blog this summer. Not bad for a five year-old. Well, he dictated as his sister wrote. My suggestion to record his wisdom with a new blog did not sit well with him. He replied, “I already told you! It’s done! I wrote my blog in July!”
“But Isaiah,” I reasoned, “when you blog, it’s good to write a lot. I try to blog once a week.”
He stared right at me and delivered his parting shot, “I hate to tell you, man, but I blog once a year.”
Sunday I carried benches and chairs we had borrowed for a party across the cavernous distance from my house to Isaiah’s. In sweltering heat, the 400 feet felt like the Sahara Desert. On my first trip, I carried the bench with both hands upward over my head. It brought back memories of a militant baseball coach who punished my mouthy teammate by making him run throughout practice while holding a baseball bat fully extended over his head. My arms burned, fighting like siblings for the right to be relieved first. I intended to slip into their backyard to reposition the furniture pieces as I found them without disturbing whatever cycle of chaos the Oakley house spun in. I set the bench down and turned back toward my house and then heard a click. The back door swung open and Dennis the Menace’s face popped out.
“Hey Luke,” Isaiah said curiously.
“Hi Zay,” I replied as I came to grips with my failed covert mission.
“Hey Luke, is your head round?”
Well, this stumped me. Is my head round? What could he possibly be pondering here? I shifted for a moment to give myself time to generate an answer that might please his highness. Perhaps he had sadly reached the age where he noticed body shape and features to the extent that it mattered. Unsure of where he wanted to take the conversation, I replied, “Well, I’m not sure, what do you think?”
“It’s kind of, well,” he began to illustrate with his hands on his own face. He moved them parallel to one another along both cheeks and across his chin and forehead. He even used his nose as a central point to measure from, like the “You Are Here” dot on the shopping mall map. “It’s kind of, like, tight, I think. Kind of tight.”
I assumed he meant narrow versus round, but I still don’t know for sure. With foreboding inclination and courage the size of Texas I posed my fated question, “Is that bad?”
Without hesitation he sentenced me, “I think so.”
He shut the door and in doing so, exiled me from his existence, leaving me abandoned to walk home with only the companionship of my tight face.
Thursday I took Isaiah and the twins to the library for a change of scenery. During our stay, I followed Summer and chased Isaiah who chased Maren and entertained plenty of pleadings to check out this and that. Somehow four year-old Isaiah’s initial desire for Curious George took a backseat to the undiscovered world of X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While I ran after kids, the weather outside transformed from 95 degrees and sunny to threatening thunderstorms. I decided to stroll the babies home quickly rather than wait out the storm while Maren’s drowsiness progressed into a further tantrum. Isaiah panicked as he saw the dark clouds. As he trembled, he suggested we walk faster and faster. Within three minutes of home, he slowed his pace and offered, “Luke, I just want you to know that if lightening strikes you and you die, I’ll take the babies back.”
Grateful and curious, I asked, “Where will you take them?”
“To your house.”
“Really? How will you get in?”
“I’ll get the key from you just before you die.”
“What will you do when you get back to the house?”
“I’ll put Maren to bed and then play with Summer until she gets tired.”
“Wow, thanks Isaiah. Thanks for wanting to take care of them,” I said quite proud of his gallantry. Selfishly I had to ask, “What about me?”
“You’ll be dead.”
You can’t be too careful what you tell a child because you never know what he’ll take hold of and spend the rest of his life remembering you by. – Frederick Buechner
Hello. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Once mid-February hits, my life becomes baseball. Two toddling twins keep me quite busy as well. But when picking a scapegoat always blame your job over your kids. Since baseball has kept me from writing, I find it appropriate to credit it for my reemergence into the blogosphere. Here’s the story:
My brother and sister-in-law watched the Vanderbilt-Florida State NCAA tournament game today as their four year-old, Isaiah, trounced about the house carrying on Godzilla’s legacy. His interest peaked when he saw the baseball game. Standing in the middle of the living room, he turned to his father and said, “Dad, guess what Luke said they do in baseball?”
Isaiah spat on the carpet.
To his parents’ horror he continued, “He said they spit, and they scratch their pen-us. But we didn’t believe him. Dad, is that true?”
“Yeah,” Steve said, “but they don’t do that inside. They do that outside.”