This afternoon it was just me and my little guy at home. He asked to watch his “Davy Crockett” movie. He loves it, and his sisters are not so fond of it, so I said yes. Then he made my day and asked me to sit and watch it with him.
Sweet boy. Yes.
We were sitting and watching when he got very excited. “This is the part! This is the part! Davy and his friend are going to sneak up on the Indians.” He started whispering very quietly. It seemed like he was giving directions to Davy and Georgie Russell, but I couldn’t be sure. He saw me watching him from the couch, and he smiled, a little embarrassed. “Sometimes I think they can hear me from the TV and I don’t want them to hear me and find Davy Crockett.”
I laughed. Quietly of course. I didn’t want to be responsible for that either.
He reminded me of something similar I used to believe. When we lived on Boy Scout Road, at one point two boys lived next door. Mama and their mama were friends, and we played together too. The older boy was Sister’s age. I remember him telling me he watched “Batman” at 7 p.m. One night our TV was left on that channel, and Batman came on. I went up to the TV talking to J, thinking he could hear me through the TV since we both had our TVs on the same channel. Yeah, well, I figured it out. Eventually.
This evening we were on our way back from Evening Prayer. The littles were in the back seat asking me about their big sister. “I have a question,” Cooter said. “Where does Baba live? Does she live at our house or does she live at college?”
“Yes. Both of those. When she has classes, she lives at Wesleyan, and when she doesn’t, she lives at home. So yes, she lives at both,” I answered.
It was quiet for a moment, and then he said, “So are the whole people at Wesleyan her family too?”
His sister, our Princess, piped up. “Yes, buddy. That’s how it is. They are all sisters in the classes. She has big sisters who are Golden Hearts because she is with the Pirates. One day the new Golden Hearts will come and they will be her little sisters. And one day when she IS VERY GROWN UP, I will go there and I will be a Golden Heart. So I am her big sister.” Ummm, get all that? (For those not familiar with the traditions of Wesleyan, each of the four classes is like its own sorority–and they have big sister and little sister classes–Purple Knights, Golden Hearts, Green Knights, and Pirates. So our Princess, with the exception of that last sentence, is absolutely correct. She is in third grade and is already counting the days until she can move in on campus as a Golden Heart of 2027. She is ready; we’re just wondering if Wesleyan is ready for her!)
When we got home tonight, the littles went inside ahead of me. I asked Princess to let Miss Sophie out of her kennel. Cooter had run in ahead of her.
“I think he beat me to the punchline,” she said. I don’t know why but that cracked me up. No baby, he might have beat you to the punch, but I didn’t hear a joke in the midst of our arrival. And yet, ironically enough, I was laughing. Huh. How about that?
This time change is wearing us out. In all kinds of ways. But it is especially confusing for Cooter. He is very troubled as soon as it gets dark. Right around 6 p.m. “Is it very, very late?” he will ask. Usually it is not, and I tell him so. Then Princess will answer, “The time changed, buddy, that’s why it’s dark.” This conversation, exactly the same each time, has taken place numerous times over the past week.
Friday night I picked him up from Mess Cat and Leroy’s house around 10:30 p.m. Sleepover cancelled. I was prepared for his change of heart, so it didn’t bother me to head over and get him. I picked him up already bathed and in his pajamas (thanks MC), and we headed home.
“Will there be any other cars on the road?” he asked.
“Sure there will, buddy.”
“What time is it?” he asked in an almost reverent whisper. “Is it after midnight?”
“No, it’s not. You’ve been up this late many times. You’re fine.”
He was quiet for a few minutes. Then he asked about other cars again.
“Cooter, there’s one up ahead and one just passed us going the other way. Yes, there are other cars out.”
“Where are they coming from? Are they going home?” He was worried about something.
I answered, “Well yes, they probably are. Maybe they were out to a late supper or watching a movie.”
He was quiet again. He finally got to the heart of the matter.
“What I’m really worried about is the traffic lights.”
I wrapped my brain around that. Well, yeah, that could be a problem, couldn’t it? So I explained that the lights were working fine and that no, they didn’t turn them off in the middle of the night, and we would be fine.
We both breathed a sigh of relief when we walked through the door of the house that night–each for different reasons.
So tonight as we were talking about the time change, I explained that the days get shorter and shorter this time of year.
“So how far away is the summer solstice?” he asked, with a longing tone in his voice. (Whoo hoo, homeschooling WIN, he remembered our conversation from months ago!)
I counted off the months. “Ummm, a long way off buddy. It’s going to be dark early for a while.” And then I got a little sad myself.
Seasonal Affect Disorder is very real y’all. And I strongly suspect I am not the only one suffering with it.
So bringing it back around to another talking to the TV story. And no, we really don’t watch that much TV, but today was an exception. Princess was in the bath, so Cooter and I were watching together. It is rare for us to watch live and commercial TV but when we do, I tend to mute the commercials. I was slow to do it at one point this evening, so the commercial began. It talked about how we have policemen and folks like that to keep us safe in the world, but then it asked who keeps us safe on the computer. As I hit MUTE, Cooter said loudly and very matter-of-factly, “Our parents.”
Love that boy.
And I’m thankful he sees me as a protector. That fits with my newly found identity of domestic shepherd. I like it.
Tonight I give thanks for the voices of my children sharing their thoughts and worries and joys with me. They make me laugh and cry and think, and hearing their voices in conversation, whether with each other or yes, even with the TV, makes me smile.