We’ve gone through a number of memorial celebrations of late. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial day and in a few days we shall celebrate our declaration of independence from the monarchy over in Britain. I think we adults all try to teach history on these days, history of our families and of our country. If we are fortunate to be parents, we do it for our kids.
We want them to remember certain things. I want to remember as many things as I can about everything so I can pass it on to my kids. Around Father’s Day I got to thinking about my old man and about my two, 20-something-year-old sons.
I want to remember everything, my dad was the same way. So, I reckon the apple didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree. Pops Rush started his long dirt nap in 1996, after smoking about 9 million packs of Winston Red cigarettes. We had him home for hospice care and for the last few weeks morphine was his special friend. He smoked so much his entire life, that in the last days, in his morphine-induced euphoria, he would light an imaginary cigarette with an imaginary lighter. Sometime during a lucid moment, while he laid in his hospital bed in the living room, he and I were talking. One of the things I remember about that time is what he told me.
He looked up at me, shook his head, his dark hair was all askew and simply said, “One of the worst things about this is I forgot to remember my memory.”
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A few weeks ago, around Father’s Day I listened to a younger father lament about his two young, young children. I let him vent, because I’m sure I was the same way when I was in his shoes. Little sleep and on-the-go with the wee ones non-stop. “Yeah, they can be handfuls at that age,” said I. “But this is also the time when their little brains are making connections and they are starting to figure things out. They do a lot of cute things at this age that make you smile. When they do those things, try to remember to write them down – because you might forget them years down the road. When you read those things years from now, you will smile.”
I did that when my boys were young and their personalities developing.
Both boys are smart, but when they were younger their smarts formed different ideas. Shamus was by the book. The rules were the rules and rules were not to be broken. Everything was black and white. Sean, two years his brother’s junior, was clever. He was called a charmer and a scammer. He looked for all the angles.
When they got in trouble, time outs were interesting. We had a kitchen timer on the counter we used for time outs. When the bell rang the time out was over and they were sprung from the prison of their rooms. During timeouts, Shamus would sit on his bed, or lay down on his bed for the entire sentence and with indignation brood right up until that bell rang. While he didn’t like it, he understood the rules of engagement and accepted them.
Sean, on the other hand, had no set rules to follow, except the ones he made up on the fly. When he was in trouble, we would set the timer, take him to his room, give the lecture and leave. A minute later, the ever-loving bell would DING loud and clear and little Seanny would be at my side, smiling with a grin that the Cheshire Cat would admire. He figured out he could “manipulate” time, speed things up and make the bell ring on his schedule.
When Shamus was figuring out how to speak and all the nuances of the English language things like plural and singular he once asked me, “How come I have to put on my clothes and Porkchop (the dog) doesn’t have to put on her clo?”
Logic to him: Clothes equated to the plural of socks, shoes, pants and shirt. Therefore logic dictates the singular of clothes then must be “clo,” and for the dog that was her collar.
One super hot evening we went out for dinner (and air conditioning) at a local diner. Shamus was five, Sean was three. We all sat down in a booth, Shamus and I on one side, Sean and his mom on the other. When the cute waitress came up to us to ask for our orders, all Sean said was two little words. He looked up at her with his baby blue eyes and said, “Hubba, hubba.”
For some reason, I got in trouble for that one.
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While kids can – and will be a pain in the backside – they are also the best thing that happens to an adult. And as cliché as it is, they do grow up fast into sweaty, stinky, hairy things who only vaguely resemble the cute little beings they once were. So, be there with them. Be in the moment with them, laugh with them (and at them). In a wink of an eye, time and life go by.
I know it’s easy to get caught up in “life” and all its stresses. Go to work, pay the bills, fix the leaky sink, change the oil, cut the grass and get mad at real or perceived transgressions “life” may lay at your door, but relax. It’s funny, I never hear folks talking about slowing down and smelling the flowers anymore. I wonder why?
Slow down. Remember the things that make you smile.
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