Four hours of water sliding, two hours of kayaking, forty-five minutes of Redwood hiking, six miles of lake walking.
One seriously tired kid.
Walking L to school. He’s holding my hand (swoon) and recounting every detail of his week, from his new “secret move” at tennis to how he can pound the ball in Four Square like a high five…
L: “Mom, I really like walking to school with you. It’s great, just catchin’ up.”
In the spirit of pantsing, I began tossing chunks of bread L’s way. The gulls followed and swarmed. L is simultaneously laughing and screaming, but mostly laughing.
L: “Mom, I think you’re crossing a line.”
I grew up in the Midwest. One of my parents was raised in the Deep South; the other grew up all over the place and escaped a fairly dark childhood because he is, well, he’s brilliant. College at 16. PhD at 20. Particle physicist/musician/poet/programmer/humorist. All of that probably came to be because he was so dang smart and because he absolutely, desperately needed to get away.
That said, brains aren’t equivalent to common sense. The first movie we saw in the theater was “Soylent Green.” (Yes, it’s people. For a small child, NOT GOOD.) The first movie I saw on television? “The Birds.” Yes, THOSE birds. Terrifying, squawking, ubiquitous, horrifying, not-melodious birds. To this day, a bird that’s too close is, dagnabbit, just plain scary to me. Lovely songbirds? Charming from a distance. Hummingbirds? Cute, but aren’t they a bit like killer bees?
This weekend, I set out to conquer that fear. What better place than a beach filled with seagulls and a loaf of stale bread? Seagulls are goofy, right? Pixar and Disney depict them that way. Sure, they can be a bit bossy. So can I.
Bread chunks in hand, I began my quest. Gulls are not shy. In fact they’re downright aggressive. (And, yes, of course I should know this, but we must remember the Midwestern roots.) The second they sensed “sucker with bread” they swarmed. I shrieked. They stepped back and squawked at me. With great trepidation, I held out my hand, with giant 72,000 foot long bread scrap (give or take), and they swarmed again.
I stopped my lunacy long enough to take a good look at the leader of the bird pack and what I saw looked downright human.
“Just pipe down and hand me the bread and we’ll all go on with our day.”
Did that. Lost my voice in the process. Gained a little less fear of birds. And a son who laughed so hard, he fell to the ground and said, “my mom is crazy.”
Laughter. As much and as often as possible.
Gads, while I love having L’s buddies over (and vice versa), I practically break into hives when I hear the term, “play date.” Can everyone come up with something else and we’ll universally change it? Just saying.
One thing I know: When the front door is shut and locked, we are a wildly inappropriate family.
We have a habit of trying to pants each other at every available opportunity. Our version rarely involves any success. It really is the journey. In other words, if one is wearing sweats or some other elasticized waistband garb, better grab on and tug. This leads to shrieks, laughter, and planting oneself firmly on the ground.
I sometimes wonder if the neighbors can hear us laughing, chasing, and ending up in a heap. Then I think, well, if everyone were to stop being so serious and just try a bit of pantsing, maybe everyone really would get along.
When in doubt, pants. (The verb, not the noun.)