Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hear, Hear

Now that we're about halfway through it with John, I've come to the understanding that eight isn't eight. Eight is halfway between seven and nine. More specifically, eight is sometimes seven (the sweet spontaneous hug, the shadow of a baby curve in a cheek, the delight of discovery) and sometimes nine (the weird nervous boy energy, the easily distracted attention span, the sudden sloth, the seemingly indifferent forgetfulness of chores, responsibilities and human interaction).

Eight, we must remember, is also halfway to 16. That really doesn't bear thinking about, and yet I'm reminded of it almost every day with an eye roll in response to something I say, or a gusty sigh when I outline a chore. Sometimes he's nothing but elbows. Sometimes he's in the wrong font, and I want to highlight him and dial down the font size until he fits.

But if I could just lighten up once in awhile I would see how the light shines through even the attitude and the back talk.

A couple of weeks ago, we went down to Omaha for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. There was much festiveness, good food, good people, and a lot of fun. We ended the whole shebang with dinner at The Venice Inn.

My sister and I, who come from a family of nondemonstrative, understated and understating Germans, threw ourselves into a worry over a toast. Surely, at a nice family dinner, their children could at least stand up and make a toast. While harrowing, we decided it must be done.

After the drinks were poured, I stood and said a few words. My sister followed. With that out of the way, the evening could get started. With the ice broken, a couple other toasts were made. Food was ordered. Talk and banter around the table was at a fine pitch.

Then John stood up. He wasn't twitching around. He didn't stammer or get derailed in his brain by an episode of Spongebob. He smiled and looked at my parents and said, "I just wanted to thank you for being such great grandparents." And he nodded at them, and sat down.

That night, tucking him in, I told him that was a very grown-up thing he had done. He nodded and said, "I don't know why, but when I was saying that toast, I felt like I was going to cry." I told him that was because sometimes when our hearts are full like that, it makes us feel like crying, even when we're not sad. He liked that explanation. I kissed his eight-year-old forehead, and he went to sleep.


  1. I forgot to say: Photo courtesy of my sistah!

  2. Oh! And reading about your boy's spontaneous toast makes everyone else's heart swell and makes them tear up. So unbearably sweet!

  3. i got a little good teary myself.

  4. I was going to say, there wasn't a dry eye after he did that, but I can't confirm that because I was busy wiping my nondemonstrative German eyes.

  5. Dear god I love you people.
    Look at him! Sigh.

    On a totally different subject--are you going to kick Jelly's Ass at the fair this year? The kids and I are going to scope ours out in anticipation of making a run next year--I do not have enough hubris to give anything a shot the first year I have my garden. Plus, there is no clear category for scones, except a "gift basket" one in which they do not even taste the goods! What up with that crap?

  6. Man, you make beautiful children.

    I miss you--and that sister of yours.

  7. I can't believe John's that old. In my mind he's four--which, actually, I must have known he wasn't anymore since he's playing hockey and all with such dedication. It sounds like he's growing up to be a great, loving person.

  8. Anonymous12:03 PM

    1. You're welcome for the photo!
    2. But I've noted how you cropped my children out of it.
    3. Yes, I realize it's a post about John.
    4. But still!
    5. Hi frog! Glad you're feeling better.

  9. Hi choco! Thanks! :)

    Also, Krup, I tagged you for a meme because you didn't reply to my email.

    I play hardball.

  10. *snicker* The meme-evil continues.

    Sometimes he's in the wrong font

    Maybe, but a most handsome font that is.