Monday, November 15, 2010

"there are plenty of sticks in the sea"

unseasonably warm temperatures and the satisfying weight of my toasted egg sandwich and coffee in my tummy, led me to the magnanimous decision early this morning, that it should be a day of Going Out. what that entailed exactly wasn't entirely clear, but Savannah helpfully suggested a walk down to the stream.

first, of course, we had to walk the dogs -- not so much for the exercise as for the bribery factor ie. "please don't pee on the rug (emma) or chew up the crayons (tyler) or raid the halloween stash (oscar) in spite while we go somewhere without you."

i could tell by halfway through the dog walk that Sebastian was not in a good fettle. i kept my maternal Knowings to myself however, so that i wouldn't come off like the Harbinger of Doom to Savannah who by now was rather excited about our upcoming adventure.

after our lengthy doggy hike (we did the entire bike path for extra insurance against canine retaliation) we stopped at the house long enough to drop them off (with further bribes of peanut-butter-smeared dog biscuits) and for me to pack our backpack with a few essentials...our blanket for sitting on, drinks and snacks and my journal - both written and art - should it turn into a long-job. at this point, Sebastian was quite keen.

it was a lovely leafy walk down past the cemetery...there was much jumping and cavorting about the leaf piles and i happily thought i'd been premature in my assessment of Bashy's mood. (now would be a good time to draw your attention to the fabulous stick specimen that he had first picked up on our dog walk - it's a 'doubler' and just the right height for pointing while he walks).

so all was well...i wandered around snapping idle photos and the kids busied themselves throwing stones and poking around in the leaf piles.  if not for the hum of the highway across the hill, we could have imagined ourselves somewhere less.....highway-ish.

now, i could just end here....i could do the 'buffed and glossed' version of our day -- as i'm usually tempted to do. my new blogging policy, however, involves full disclosure. you see, i've found that the blogs i like to read the most, are the ones that don't necessarily buff and polish -- they have that refreshing breath of here's what else happened:

~ i stepped in dog poo
~ a daddy-long-legs was fatally wounded between the pages of my journal
~Savannah got her treasured sneakers covered in stream-slime
~ she also felt something prickling her, looked at her sweater only to discover she was covered in...(and i quote)  "earwig butts" -- cue histrionics.  they were actually burr-type things that really did resemble, in the quiet aftermath of their removal, the pincer-end of an ear-wig
~ Sebastian had had enough long before his sister did and an exasperating battle of wills took place before she eventually conceded that she was cold and her feet were slightly wet and she didn't want Sebastian to have to stay any longer (he had already agreed to two extensions).

and then...

we left without his stick.

but he didn't realize that until we were three-quarters of the way home.

at which point he came to a halt.  now anyone who truly knows Sebastian knows these silent protests for what they are -- he's genuinely troubled and doesn't really know how to proceed.  he's not having a tantrum and he's not being belligerent. he's just not sure.

most of the time, this centers around transitioning from one thing/place to another. when he was younger, it often included crying and a tantrum.

on this occasion however, i imagine he was torn between wanting his stick and wanting to go home.

and so we walked on.

and on.

we were hoping our disappearing into the distance would prompt him into moving. (he's not inclined to budge if you stand there waiting for him - a fact which proves problematic in crowded, public places --- he needs the time and that's that.)

but then his sister, his beloved sister - walked back down the path to try and convince him to join us....

she told him..."there are plenty of other sticks in the sea"

of course, this would be a delightfully dramatic and poignant way to end the story -- and i did briefly consider it. (see aforementioned policy). although i have  left out the silent and sometimes-not-so-silent stream of profanity i unloaded on myself for not remembering to pick up his stick before we left.

in the end we hid behind a tree until he wondered where we'd gone and ambushed him when he went past. at which point we each took an arm and escorted him home.

that, dear reader, is exactly what Going Out looked like around here today.

true story.


  1. I love that the story did not end - the bits I liked the best would have been missed out if it had ended! *hug*

  2. I loved going out on that walk with you - real good stuff. An of course, you now have a new family saying that will make you smile whenever it is said.xx

  3. I lovw it too -
    EXCEPT for the part
    "silent and sometimes-not-so-silent stream of profanity i unloaded on myself"

    NO "mommy dearest" it is NOT your fault that he forgot HIS stick. And part (if not all) of his silent indecision was an impotrtant part of the lesson he's learning by NOT having you responsible for his memory. IMHO at least.

  4. oh, thank you for being a fearless blogger and sharing the entire inspired story! As I was reading, I was reminded of similar excursions with my Cowgirl (a hidden law of a nature: the more preparation for an outing, the higher the likelihood it will end prematurely. And when i forget essentials, like oh, snacks, then the adventure is long but the meltdown loud!)

    i also recognize myself in your "silent and sometimes-not-so-silent stream of profanity" unloaded upon myself - it is a hard lesson for all, isn't it? once we were with my mom at the hospital (routine check-up) and i saw my daughter had taken her beloved spiderman watch off and was holding it in her hand and you know how one part of your brain is commenting upon this risky act while the other part is tending to the immediate duties, like rolling the wheel chair onto the elevator. 10 minutes later we were in the car when she wailed "my watch is gone!" and simultaneously i berated myself while telling her "you need to keep track of your things." It was a horrible moment and then i looked in my bag and saw i had taken it from her hand and had safely stowed it away without consciously realizing i did any of that. And what did i tell her when i revealed her beloved watch to her? gulp. i said "you should know, if this had been daddy, your watch would be gone!"

    wow. long tangent here ... can you see there is definitely a need for your truth-telling tales? A safe space to share and learn. And I too would love to pack up my expedition bag and join you all for an afternoon. my favorite kind of day.

    xo lis

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  6. And what did i tell her when i revealed her beloved watch to her? gulp. i said "you should know, if this had been daddy, your watch would be gone!"
    That got me giggling - half way around the world from you!

    oh- I removed the post because I meant to add:
    AND I really NEEDED a giggle this morning! Thanks!

  7. ha!! too funny Jude....glad you got a chuckle...

    oh, Lis -- those are the kinds of blurts that my siblings and i like to (good-naturedly) tease my mother about these days.....with the right amount of time passing (and therapy), everything gets funnier! ;)

    i actually had that semi-conscious bit of my brain saying 'pick up the stick, he might want it later'...but i was busy trying to pick earwig butts of Savannah's sweater and...well, you know the rest.

    one day,we'll be wise old crones...


  8. when do I get to the 'wise' part?


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