I have a lot to be thankful for this year, in my personal life, my wish-it-was-professional life, and in my spiritual life. Very little of it is easy, but most of it is rewarding, and all of it is far more than I deserve. Best wishes to all of you this Thanksgiving. May it find you truly thankful, not focused on what more you want.
I was boiling some Penne to eat with sautéed vegetables when Trooper came in to help. Since I needed some space around the skillet, I asked him to tend the noodles. He graciously obliged, moving his stool over to stir the Penne so it wouldn't stick.
Well, I looked over and he was about to add another noodle to the pot, which had already been boiling for several minutes. "No, don't put that in there," I said. "It won't be cooked enough when the others are done, and it'll be tough."
"But Mom, his mom is in there!"
I cut my eyes at him. "His mom can be in that measuring cup. Put him and his family in there, but don't put them in the pot."
He sadly turned from the pot and began playing with dry noodles in the measuring cup.
For a minute.
I turned from the sink to find him quickly dropping one noodle into the bubbling pot. "Trooper! Leave the kitchen! I just told you not to put that in there."
"But Mom, he needs his mom! He's with his mom, now. They're hugging! Listen, can you hear that? That's them hugging."
How could I respond to that? How could I make him leave the kitchen, when even baby noodle got to be with his mom? So, instead of following through, I hid my laugh and sighed at my own weak will.
Adapted from a facebook comment, in regard to overlaying the French flag on facebook profile pictures:
I'm not necessarily against changing profile pictures for this, but I've begun to wonder 'why France?', when so many countries in Africa see worse on a weekly basis. It's hard for me to believe there isn't truly a misplaced value on life, that we as a nation (and maybe the world) truly do value the lives of white people more than those of people of color. I'm not speaking of you as an individual or any other individuals, but of us as a whole. This was a terrible act of terrorism, and I don't want to minimize it, but when compared to other events (college and village masacres, for example) I don't understand why this was picked for a nationwide 'show of solidarity'. Again, I'm not saying I think that individuals who add the French flag are racists, only that I believe it's a sypmtom of a deep problem with the way we as a group see the world.
Edit: Here are a couple of links to articles you might find interesting. It turns out I'm far from the only person asking this question.
Also, when I say 'weekly basis' up above, I don't necessarily mean terrorist attacks. I was thinking more about villages being slaughtered for their children and that sort of thing. As far as I know, it's still a huge problem.
I had to smile when Trooper prayed for me to have 'a piece of quiet' one night, and add an 'amen' in the hope that it would actually work. I used to think I was a patient person.
Despite my ever growing conviction that I have no idea what I'm doing with this wild spark of a child, and a persistent fatigue of mind and spirit, there has also been laughter. For example:
In our bathroom we have a vanity that breaks up the reflection into three distinct parts, two of which are large enough to see face and shoulders clearly. The third and lowest mirror is little more than a narrow strip of decorative glass, not intended for practical use. The other day I was doing something at the bathroom sink, and Trooper was, of course, in there with me. He was trying to talk to me, but he began to get frustrated. "I can't see my face!" he complained, moving around to try and find a way to meet my eyes in the mirror.
In a moment of evil genius, I gasped in alarm. "Oh, no! It's gone!"
Trooper shrieked, "What?!" He jumped up and down, grabbing at his face in a panicked attempt to find it. For just a moment he was terrified that he had somehow lost his beautiful, googly-eyed face, and instead of feeling bad about my little prank, I laughed my head off.
Soon after breakfast one morning, Trooper was, as usual, causing some sort of mayhem or another. I, as usual, repeated some sort of instruction or another as I was walking by him. I don't know if his sudden gagging fit was in response to my instruction, or if he just randomly had a flashback to his time on the Star Destroyer, but before he could fall to the floor in feigned Darth Vader strangulation, his gagging triggered a real gag. I heard the difference in the sound and turned around to see if he was ok, but I shouldn't have worried. He was chewing away, and when he met my eye he said, "I'm back to eating my egg."
Trooper and Jonathan were playing a game where they pretend to snatch pieces of each other's faces and eat them or trade them. Trooper grabbed Jonathan's beard to 'steal' it, and Jonathan said, "Don't pull on my beard, I need it to hold on my 'yips' ('lips' in Trooperish)."
Trooper smiled, but I interrupted the game with this philosophical question: "Trooper, what's holding on your lips?"
His smile faded into a confused frown as his hands left Jonathan's face and began prodding his own mouth. "I don’t know?" he said, pulling at his upper lip. "My mustache?"
I should be nicer.
Me: OK, go get dressed and I'm going to use the bathroom.
Trooper: Be careful. Don't stick your head in the toilette.
1. Trooper's plate was empty all but for two small biscuit crumbs. He pushed it toward me, saying, "It's almost all gone."
I nodded as I ate another bite of my own dinner, "Mhm."
He stared at me for a moment. "Can I have yours?"
"What?! We have more biscuit and gravy in the kitchen."
"But I thought we were gonna trade."
My eggs, biscuits, and sausage gravy for his two crumbs. And of course I gave it to him.
2. I was telling a friend about Trooper's flu shot last year, when he threatened the nurse, telling her he was coming back and his name is Clive White. My friend laughed, and said, "What was he going to do to her?" And we moved on to talk about something else.
But then I heard Trooper saying something that caught my attention, and as I tuned in to him I heard him saying, "I swit her froat, shshsh, no, I just make her drink beer and die!"
Because apparently, sometimes violence is the answer.
Trooper on Trick or Treating:
After the first house, "OK, let's go back now."
On the way to the second house, "This is a disaster."
After the second house, "We have to go back to Miss Janet's house, now."
One minute later, "Come on, we came to get candy and we got a whole bunch of them!" (3 pieces)
Fifteen steps later, "Come on! We have to go back to talk to Miss Janet!"
And so on until we finally got into a small group with other kids. I told him I was sad that he doesn't like trick or treat, because it's one of his dad's and my favorite things. He said, "It's OK to be sad."
Trooper's story: When I was a little boy, I was a farmer. And then the chicken truck came and took away all my chickens.
Trooper on God's art: My favorite color is sunshine.
And I have some more for next week, and I'm itching to share them because they make me laugh every time I think about them. But you're going to have to wait. Love you too.
Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog! Around here you'll find posts about my books, my family, our intercultural experiences, and things interracial.