Life Lessons

In the South, we are having an early spring. I hear this is extending up to the north too as my sister is wildly excited about 75 degrees temps up there. On Tuesday, Hailey wanted to go to the playground after I picked her up from her after-school program. I dutifully drove the white minivan to the playground at the top of our neighborhood, called hubby and told him to send Caden on down on his bike, and sat on a bench while Hailey played.

That day, not many other people were out. When Caden came down riding my yellow Gary Fisher bike he wasn’t wearing his helmet. He pulled out his cell phone and facetimed with a friend for the entire time we were at the playground. Then as the sun sunk down, I decided we needed to leave. Hailey told me she would beat me home, and she clenched up her fist and ran as hard as she could down the street toward our house. I told Caden it was time to leave. Barely a nod in my direction. I hopped in the car and trailed my daughter home, until she came up to the window and asked me to stop, climbed into the car breathless and said, “Boy, I’m tired.” I love the spring.

Home for ten minutes, and Hubs almost had dinner ready. Liam who had been sick earlier in the night, crept down the stairs, but Caden still hadn’t returned. I’m not a dummy. I know the kid’s phone is basically superglued to his hand, so I called him. He answered on the second ring.

“Come on home.”

“Okay.”

He showed up a few minutes later, still talking to his friend.

“Do you homework,” Hubs said.

And commence major meltdown.

I get it. No one wants to do homework on a glorious day when they could be facetiming their friend while sitting on a swing and pretending to play for hours. No one wants to do a lot of things. I don’t ever want to wear high heels, because they scrunch up my toes in a teeny tiny pocket at the top of the shoe, and they’re so darned uncomfortable. But I wear them, because they look nice with my black dress. I don’t want to clean the toilets, especially after three boys in my family have decided that the toilet bowl is just a suggestion.

There’s so many things in this world that we just don’t want to do, but we do because we have to. Caden calmed down, we ate dinner, and he begrudgingly did his homework, then he facetimed his friend to tell him goodnight. (Don’t worry, they weren’t without each other very long. At 6:30 AM the next morning they were talking again. Tweens. )

After all that I said to Caden, “I get it. But you have responsibilities that you have to accomplish. Homework and school is your responsibility. You must do these things, and then you can talk to your friends. We’ll give you a little leeway if you do what you’re supposed to do first.”

He seemed to understand. And isn’t that the way with life? Even at work, if you get your work done then you can be social. If you write the book and do the hard work, then you can play.

I didn’t tell Caden that I’d had his exact meltdown at the white kitchen table parked in the house I grew up in. I didn’t tell him that I’d screamed at my dad and said, “Algebra is so stupid. When the heck am I ever going to use this?” We’ve all been there. We’ve all known what it’s like to be trapped inside a house forced to do work on a glorious day when the sunshine seems to be calling our name.

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