Friday, February 19, 2016

What's Theirs is Mine

Lets play a game of "What's on the Coffee Table?"  (It'd help if you said that in your best game show announcer voice.)  ((Thanks.))

First, we'll need a table.  Oh, look, there's one right here.

There on the far left is a box of Z's Rubik Cubes, he's been heavy into them for quite some months now.  I made model airplanes when I was about his age - simple plastic ones put together with a glue that still wafts through my memory whenever Marci puts on nail polish.  I made ten or twelve I'd say, mostly WWII fighters and bombers and a Messerschmidt or two.  I suppose I learned a great deal attaching the bomb-bay doors and and tiny Rolls-Royce engines and Goodyear tires.  I'd like to say I considered war and logistics and the nature of good and evil and all that.

I asked Zack the other day why he was so interested in the cubes.  "I dunno, Dad, it just something to do."  Yeah, same with model airplanes, just passin' time not thinking about passin' time.

There's a deck of cards there to the right of that book of magic tricks Z got from the library.  I grew up watching people play cards.  My parents often hosted bridge games of two or three tables.  I used to watch my parents and my two older brothers play Hearts when we were camping.  One time, Dad went off to the latrine and handed his cards to me.  I played that hand and bid and won the next.  They didn't even know I knew how to play.

If you look closely you'll see three box lids, one says "Red Team" on a red piece of construction paper, the other says "Black Team" on, well, black (or, more accurately, that hopelessly dark gray black construction paper always is) paper.  Between the final lid is upside down and lined with orange duct tape.  These are components of card game called "Donut #s."  The pound symbol here indicating numbers.  There is a whole two page set of instructions I will spare you.

I am glad to see cards coming out more here in our household.  We haven't taught them many games yet.  I should get on that.

On the far right end of the table are two books by Newbery award winning author, Sharon Creech.  One is called The Unfinished Angel the other The Boy on the Porch.  Nick has, of course, read them both and was very enthusiastic about them.  I read them and so did Marci.

I can't say that I really ever gave juvenile fiction a second thought over the many years I've been an avid reader.  I never studied any of them, oh, wait, I did take a long look at The Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, which wasn't intended as a children's book.  Anyway, since the boys started reading I've taking a look at some of their favorites and I'll tell you what - there is a lot to be learned about plot and structure and character from these simple books.  I'd recommend them both to readers of all skill levels.

There in the center, to the right of the deck of cards is Nick's Hexbug and controller.  Below that an eraserless pencil, a calculator, a lovely San Damiano cross Marci came home with, a little black box and a thermometer and mini-compass key-chain.

So, I guess that's everything on the table.  You'll notice there is nothing of mine on the table.  I got to thinking about that.  At first, I was tempted to play the pity card; to feel sorry for myself because nothing of mine was represented.  It is easy, as a stay-at-home-parent, to feel like you no longer matter, that you've simply become your children's keeper.

That's honestly too easy and insipidly shallow.  You see, although nothing of mine is on that table, I just made it all mine.  I made this a memory.  I made a moment, created a scene, gave their things my narrative.

In a way, I think that is what parents who are involved, who pay attention to their kids, who worry and wonder for them, who seek a story for them, do.  We make our memories out of their now.

Or something like that.

In retrospect I could've at least put my coffee cup on the table...

... it is a coffee table, after all.  My coffee table.

I know said I'd spare you the two-page instructions from the game the boys invented but they are just too damn cute silly confusing adorable interesting to ignore.

I'm a little confused but, I'll catch on sooner or later.

Peace to you all.

1 comment:

  1. It is because, as the stay at home parent, you clean your stuff off the coffee table as part of your daily routine. It is probably somewhere else less obvious.