You know, things usually work out perfectly in my head. I had happy memories-to-be of coming home to my children today, trading work clothes for snow pants and building a giant snow fort in the yard. Before construction, we would start dough for homemade pretzels, rent a movie from Blockbuster and then return to the task at hand, working our hearts out before retiring inside to some serious snuggles and quality time in the kitchen. What could be better?
Enter reality. Boys fighting over order of day. Mom senses they’re close to agreement. Doesn’t matter. One stalks off to room. Other camps out in front of Wii. Mom unready to give up, starts dough. Gets impatient, puts on snow stuff. Hopes children get the hint and join. They do. Boys in tentative detente. Mom builds most of fort. One fixes colored water for a moat. Other sprays willy-nilly. One picking, bossing, yelling. Other getting angry. One gets mad. Other gets, madder, destroys the fort.
Hey, that makes me sad, I say over his tears, I was working hard on that, and he cries it’s all One’s fault for yelling at him and ordinarily, I would take Other to his room, hopefully by the wrist (but over the shoulder if need be) and let him cool his jets until he was ready to say he was sorry but there was something in me, some switch that switched, that told me it was better to see what happened if he could work through it so I hugged him while he cried it’s One’s fault (you were angry, honey), it wasn’t my fault (you were angry and you did something that wasn’t right), and I kept looking over at the fort (what was left of it) and couldn’t help but maybe feel a little bit sad that this would be how we left it, knowing that each homecoming until the thaw we would have a mounded reminder of negotiations gone wrong, and I wondered if we might try again to make things better, and a funny thing happened.
They went for it.
One grabbed a shovel. So did Other. Both shoveled while I packed. Too heavy for small arms. We switched jobs. Fort lost some height in the end. Still, it became stronger, better. Solid from the base on up. Tougher to knock down. Hard to tell who was proudest.
For the record, the pretzels were delicious.