Last night, when it was time for the chalice, my son found me sleeping in front of a fire that had burned to coals. He leaned down, put his head on my shoulder and his arms around me and said, “What are you thankful for tonight, Momma?” I said, “You.”
Tag Archives: fire
Happy first day of snowy spring! Today we regressed from bare earth to six inches of snow to welcome in the spring. I should probably apologize right up front, because I’m the one who was praying for it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of snow, coming from the southern regions of the US. Maybe if I lived in Boston…
They did, however, do a great job clearing the roads by nightfall, so off to dodgeball practice we went. On the way home, mythankfulboy slipped into his imitation of a southern twang, and I thought to play a voicemail for him from my momma, who he calls Peepeye, from New Year’s Eve of 2011. She was calling to tell B that “Juhstin Beeeber is gonna be own CeeBeeAyus (CBS) in a mihniht”. Just delicious. I told him I was so sorry he wouldn’t grow up with that accent. He smiled.
Once home, he went straight to bed. Having used up all his screen time earlier in the day, and having finished his book the night before, he was sort of stumped as to what to do with himself. We lit the chalice, and I read chalice lighting #451, by Leslie Phol-Kosbau:
“Flame of fire, spark of the universe that warmed our ancestral hearth – agent of life and death, symbol of truth and freedom. We strive to understand ourselves and our earthly home.”
B said, “There’s not much to say about that.” I offered, “I think a lot of people are working to understand why we got snow in our earthly home on the first day of spring.” He laughed. “And I probably had my last fire in our hearth tonight, don’t you think?” He said no – he thought I’d eek out a few more. He’s probably right.
He sent me on an errand to fetch him some water (for which I extracted 11 kisses on the cheek), and I asked for what he was thankful. “For you, for your momma, for dodgeball, for the roads being good enough to get there, and for you taking me.” (He must have been thinking while I went for the water.) I said I was thankful for our hearth, and also for his not giving me too much guff when I told him his time was up with screens and to find something else to do. He said it looked easier than it was (!). Then he said, “Tell me again why I can’t just play if I have the time?” “Because it keeps you from using your brain for other things, including being creative enough to come up with something to do besides playing Xbox!” I blew out the candle, and told him I loved him and was slipping out of his room when I heard him say, playfully, “But MOM!”
From the hallway I said, “Oh NO! Is that whining in my household?!” He yelled, “No! It’s yelling!” I yelled back, “OH NO! IS THAT YELLING IN MY HOUSEHOLD?!!” He laughed and yelled, “I LOVE YOU MOM!” I stuck my head back around the doorframe and said, “I love you, too, Snicker.”
(which is short for Snickerdoodle…)
It’s a momma weekend – a weekend I get Mythankfulboy all to myself. It’s quite the luxury. Friday night it was back to dodgeball (after the completion of Crossfit for baseball, he can get back to his other sporting love), Saturday we braved a snowstorm to do batting cages and Waffle House, and today we shoveled and shoveled and now are each doing our own version of screen time. B today came up with the idea that there should be a shoveling index in the same way there’s a cold/heat index – that for each inch of snow, it either feels like an inch, or, if it’s wet and heavy, it feels like 2 inches, or, if it’s icy slush the snow plows churned into your driveway, each inch feels like 4 inches. He’s probably not the first to float this idea, but I found it to be quite clever, because it’s so true…
On weekend nights, there is not a set bedtime, which means the chalice lighting can happen at any time. Last night, I was sitting in front of the fire when B ran past to get a snack during a break in his game. As he ran into the kitchen he asked, “So what are you thankful for?” I said, “Really?” He said, “Yeah!” So I thought quickly and said, “Driving around in the snow with you!” As he ran back by with a granola bar and some fruit snacks, he yelled, “Batting cages and mommas who will take you in the snow!” (imagine his voice falling away as though he was falling off a cliff).
I think we should call this the drive-by chalice lighting.
Mythankfulboy and I saw Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb this afternoon, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, there was a theme running through about letting your son grow up and find his own way in the world (sigh), and there was Robin Williams’ part that held my heart throughout, so it was a little bittersweet. Tonight, when we settled in for the chalice lighting, we had to do it in the living room where B would be sleeping because the sheets were off his bed. We pulled the dog’s ottoman up to the couch (no, he’s not allowed on the couch because he is a massive shedder) so he could be close to his boy, and the three of us quieted. B started.
“I’m thankful for Night At The Museum.”
“Me, too” I said. “Wasn’t it great?”
“It was SO good. What are you thankful for – WAIT – I’m not finished.”
So, I waited, as instructed, while he said he was thankful for the dog, and that we didn’t give the dog enough attention, and he asked some questions about how far/where he was allowed to walk the dog and I asked some questions about what he would do if an unfamiliar car pulled up beside him. Then I said “My turn?” B said, “Nope. Not finished.” He added wifi, Xbox, games he plays on the Xbox, and allowance. Then he said, “You can go. I have too many.” Blessed be, I thought.
I said I was thankful tonight that he understands that we have only so much money, and that, even if he wanted to work for more from me, there wasn’t always more to give. I told him I was grateful that he did what I asked without complaint, and that, more and more, he was anticipating what I wanted or needed. Earlier in the day I had asked him to build me a fire because I was already sitting with the dog in my lap. Mostly it was a ploy to get him to come sit with me for a while. He said “Sure!” and started the work. I said to the dog, “See how much your boy loves me?” B turned to look at me with a furrowed brow and said, “I’m not doing this because I love you.” “You’re not?” I asked. “No, I’m doing it because it’s something I can do for you when you do so much more for me.” I gave him my biggest, proudest, smile and told him nothing made a momma’s heart sing more than an appreciative, giving, child. And then, he sunk into the chair next to me and the dog moved over to sit with him, my ploy working.
When I started this thankfulness ritual with B, I didn’t know if it would catch on. Then, when it did, I didn’t know if it would work to make him a thankful human. Then, when it seemed to be working, I didn’t know if it would extend out to kindness, much less to reciprocity of kindness and anticipation of need. These are just the foundations of what I want to teach him before he goes out into the world on his own. Once again, I think to myself, blessed be.
After the previous night, the first thing that B wanted to establish last night was that I was NOT going to lie down in his bed. He dove in as fast as he could and took up as much room as his little body could cover. So I promised not to make an electric-blanket-glutton of myself again, and was allowed to sit beside him after lighting the chalice. We chatted about his first day back at school post-winter break, about new xBox accoutrements, and for a long time about ways to expand his diet. This has been a concern pretty much since he started eating solid food. We talked about some possibilities that he might be willing to try, and I told him that I would eat better if he would eat better, because I would actually cook. He said, “Yeah, I don’t care how you look, but you might live longer.” Thank you? I think?
I leaned down and stroked his hair and told him I was thankful that he brought in some wood for my fire, particularly since a little snow was predicted for today, and you never know how that might go (about 2 inches as I write). I asked him for what he was thankful. He said, “I’m thankful that you’re appreciative of me, and so supportive of me when I try to do things.” I told him that it was important to notice what people do for you and appreciate them for it, and that I’m often appreciative “of him”. He said, “I know. Thank you.” Then I leaned down to kiss his forehead before leaving, and he grabbed my arm and said, “Don’t go!”
A sweet turnaround from being farted out of the bed the night before.
Another night of baseball crossfit. Tonight, instead of sitting in the car for the hour, I decided to sit in Subway just up the street. Mythankfulboy asked if he could walk up to Subway after his class to meet me. The momma in my head said it will be dark and late and there are at least 2 whole blocks to cover, and why on earth would I allow that?! The momma living in the real world calmly said, “Yes. Keep your eyes open for people and avoid them, and for ice, because the temperature will have dropped below freezing by then.” He said, “Okay!”
So, the class was over at 8:30. I tried not to watch the clock, but at 8:45 I got up and looked down the block and didn’t see him. I was not yet to a heart pounding condition – I took my time packing up my things, bought him a cookie, refilled my drink. The kid working behind the counter said, “I’m sure he’ll be here any minute”. Then, just as I was about to walk out the door, in he ran, out of breath. “They kept us late – I’m so sorry!” I nonchalantly said, “I figured. Here, I bought you a cookie.” I don’t think B did, but the kid behind the counter knew better!
We came home and lit a fire. B had to have a complicated arrangement with the side table that is usually on the left of the chair moved to the right because the dog was in his lap and he couldn’t play on the computer, since he’s right handed, unless it was moved. They were so cute I got up and moved it for him (but I grumbled). We hung out by the fire until it got late. He was stuck in his game and not getting ready for bed, as I had commanded, so I began singing loudly to move the process along. I was through Tis A Gift To Be Simple, The Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy, and Thank God I’m a Country Boy before he asked “Are you trying to annoy me into bed?” “Yep” I answered, as I started on You Fill Up My Senses (it was a John Denver kind of night). In the end, it was his battery running out that did it, not my singing. Before we moved from the fire-as-chalice, I asked for what he was thankful. He pointed to the fire and then to me. I squealed “My singing?! I knew it!” He backpeddled – not my singing, just me. I said I was thankful that I could trust him to come straight to Subway when he said he would.
We watched the fire burn down, and then I asked him if he thought I should call his dad and tell him that the wood I stole from his woodpile and burned tonight didn’t burn very well. He laughed and advised against it.
We had an unprecedented day here in the mythankfulboy household. We had specific plans for something that had to get done (and still does before snow comes, alas), and we blew them off.
Mythankfulboy was not sure quite what was happening at first. We had gone out to breakfast, and instead of going home I got the car washed. Then I turned the wrong way out of that driveway, and down a road I liked the name of but had never driven down before. “What are we doing?” he asked. Then we drove by the reservoir, and just when he thought I’d turn the car towards home I turned into a park. He had run a 5K yesterday (go B!) and was a bit sore, so I asked if we could just walk down to the water (lake, dam, river). I was pretty sure if I got him out into the park he’d want to kick around a little bit. We walked past the dam and down to the river where he proceeded to raise the water level with the number of rocks he skipped in. Finally, he looked up and said, “You ready to go?”, as if he’d been waiting on me all along.
On the way home I announced a day of rest. He said “YES!” When we got in the door he helped me set up in front of the fire to read/nap, and he headed off to his room to play video games. After a while he called “Let me know if you need another log on the fire, so you don’t have to get up!” The day went on this way, and finally I asked why he was being so nice to me. He said “Because you deserve it. You should have a day like this every weekend. You do way more than this for me.” I told him that a day of rest and contemplation had originally been the purpose of Sunday, and he said we should make it happen. I said it was a nice thought, but that we’d probably only get a day off every now and then. He said he was fine with that.
By bedtime he was calling out orders instead of taking them (e.g., “Hey mom – can you bring me some water? No! Cold water!” , “Momma, can you fix my sheets?”, “Your turn!” when the dog wanted out), but I didn’t mind. I asked for what he was thankful, and he said friends online he could talk to. I asked who he’d been chatting with, and he said his cousin and a friend from here. He said they talked about video games, mostly, and his cousin wanted to know when he’d see him. B was also thankful for crossfit training for baseball. I was thankful for him, for his sweet attention today, and for making it easy to be proud of him. This was, apparently, not earth-shattering news, because I’d barely finished my lovey-dovey offering when he said, “and I’m thankful that this fan is so quiet”, referring to the fan by his bed.
I guess when you know you’re loved, you don’t have to dwell on it. I’m thankful for that, too.