Saturday, March 16, 2013

no blarney

Confession: I did a double take when I pulled this out of the elder lad's take-home folder:

elder lad's pot of gold art

Sure enough it *does* say "My brother means more to me than gold because we lov each other and he my brother." [sic]

Considering their interactions go from thick as thieves to gauntlets thrown down in the blink of an eye, I am amazed at this declaration for anyone and everyone to see.  Then again, it isn't without precedent.  And there was that whole staring-at-the-ceiling thing...

The younger lad made a similar piece in return, declaring his elder brother "his best friend." Chalk my incredulity up to my still-stymied understanding of sibling relationships

Sunday, March 10, 2013

good and evil

The two-and-a-half-year-old younger lass has a way with words:
"My eyes are choc'late." (referring to their luscious dark color)
"Bad boy!" (directed at her sister)

Every time the latter zinger is hurled, one of us always responds (even if it's not quite the "teachable moment" yet), "she's not a boy, and she's not bad."  Under normal circumstances, the younger lass *does* know that her sister is a girl like herself, but in moments of upset, that crusher is her biggest gun.  She picked it up from a sibling who shall remain nameless known for using it as a sort of heat-seeking missile against his brother.  In such cases, a similar response is given about the lad not being bad (laying aside the gender confusion). 

I'm not sure how this epithet came into being, since neither my beloved nor I employ it ourselves in the course of correcting inappropriate behavior on the part of our bambini.  Nonetheless, these fighting words persist and still sting, even though we are quick to say "God made [your brother] good.  He's not bad," and go on to talk about how we all make mistakes in the form of bad choices now and again, but that we are essentially good people -- even the sibling that has just pressed another's hot button.

As adults, we probably don't go around calling other adults names like "bad boy!", but we'd probably be fibbing if we didn't acknowledge at least once thinking to ourselves something along those lines (or worse).  We might even go so far as to think of a particular person as "evil," especially when considering the track record of a person who clearly has little respect for others to the point of destroying them literally or figuratively. 

It is contrary to our Catholic faith to think of people as evil.  God made us good.  He gave us free will, and sometimes we make bad choices from which evil has its way.  We can be under the influence of evil, and we struggle mightily against the effects of original sin, but we can also choose to do good (however difficult this may be) and have recourse to the grace we receive at Baptism and through the sacraments to live uprightly. 

Halfway through this Lenten season, we are far enough on the journey to Easter to have gained a little perspective since Ash Wednesday when some of our Lenten practices began in earnest.  God willing, we have come to recognize some ways in which evil has insinuated itself between us and the God who loves us.  With this reminder of pure, perfect love to encourage us, we dare to believe in our inherent good.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Pinewood Derby, vol. 2

Pinewood Derby this morning, Blue & Gold Banquet this evening, and Daylight Savings Time overnight -- that's what I call a trifecta.

elder lad's gold & black Pinewood Derby truck
the elder lad's second-place-in-his-den-winning truck

Friday, March 08, 2013

Friday night live

Earlier this evening...

All four bambini are out in the garage with my beloved.  Tomorrow is the Pinewood Derby for the elder lad's Cub Scout pack, so the lad and his dad are putting the finishing touches on his lustrous truck (another one).  Through the open door I can banging, clanging, scuffling, and the younger lass yelling jubilantly "here we go!"  She and her sister are sitting in the green wagon that is rarely used for outings to the neighborhood playground anymore.  The younger lad is nearby in a stance that reads "train conductor" although he is wearing a black shirt vest (over his white school uniform polo) with green felt strategically cut and placed to look like what Chris Kratt wears on the lads' favorite show Wild Kratts graciously made for him by the mother of one of his classmates after hearing how much he, his brother, and his sisters enjoy that show.  The lasses say they are going to the beach. I'm not sure how the lad fits in the beach trip, but I have every confidence that he's got a plan.  Maybe they're taking the train to the beach.

How they love to go tinker around in the garage with their dad, sometimes stomping around in the bed of his truck, sometimes dabbing paint on small blocks of wood like the elder lass did last year as her brothers painted their Derby cars, sometimes using tools on a project with his skilled and immediate guidance.  The younger lad won't get to enter a car in the Pinewood Derby until next year when he is a first-year Cub Scout, but he's made a car (or is this year's a boat?) both years alongside his brother. 

The outcome of tomorrow's Pinewood Derby is anyone's guess, and we're not worried about that.  The process of creating, crafting, and finishing the cars has been the real prize.

The day has had its ups and downs, from these amicable sounds, school Mass, and lunch with a cherished friend to displays of fury from tired, frustrated bambini and sibling squabbles that are nothing new.  The scene in the garage ended when the lasses came in to get ready for bed and the Derby truck with freshly-installed wheels came in to cure overnight. Then it was the usual nuttiness that is the bedtime routine.

I'm sure glad I stepped away from folding laundry to take in the sights and sounds out in the garage.  It was a moment meant to capture forever.

Friday, March 01, 2013

taking notes

close-to-six-year-old younger lad to his sister the four-year-old elder lass,
with whom he is usually a jovial and willing playmate
(even when the game suggested is playing house):
"Why do you like to play mom?"

elder lass: "because you get to have a purse"

In typical fashion, the four-year-old elder lass has zeroed in on an aspect of the world around her and made it the linchpin of her carefully-considered plans.   As a mother, which she wants to be, she'll tote a purse around (likely with several books and who knows what else, like her own mother) -- but she does that already.

The elder lass at four years old has a very basic, age-appropriate understanding of how mamas are built by God to care for babies.  Realizing how closely the lass is watching me, the other women in her life, and her young girl friends (and taking notes, as evidenced by the purse reference, among others), I am ever mindful of my own attitudes, habits, and comments about myself and others.  I'm also humbled to think of imperfect I am, how prone I am to impatience even as I try to handle sticky situations with humor and fortitude.  I hope she and her siblings grow to be better at that than I am.

Yes, I do know she is four years old.  Remember I take a long view.

Should the Lord call the lasses to be mothers someday, I know they will draw from many sources (including the legacy their mother leaves for them) in approaching their journeys, which likely will not be exactly the same as my own.  As they seek to understand themselves and what roles they are called to play in this world, they will find many pundits -- not all of them trustworthy -- all too willing to supply them with information about what it means to be a woman nowadays.  Thankfully, we have recourse to a wealth of good, insightful, and spiritually-sound resources to help them wade through the static.

Just as Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so too are mothers who are seeking to care for the children entrusted to them both physically and spiritually.  The love we have for our children is a reflection of God's love for us. When we submit to the Lord's will and seek to conform ourselves more closely to it every day, the grace that flows freely is that which makes a job well done possible. 

I pray all our bambini will grow and flourish in the knowledge of God's love for each of them through the care they receive from our hands, so that they might in turn someday lead their little ones to Christ. 
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