First of all, it was very difficult for me to type the date for this article – November already! We have passed through the Daylight Savings Period, made it past Halloween, my birthday flew by, and now I am thinking about pumpkin pies and Cool Whip. The stores are already into Christmas and I had to wear a jacket all week. I don’t care, really, who celebrates or doesn’t celebrate the different seasons. I was just lamenting the fact that this year is rushing to its conclusion.
IKEA has their new Christmas commercial out on fb in which the kids write letters to Santa and then write letters to their parents. Santa’s letters are filled with requests for STUFF and the parent letters are basically asking for more time to be together. It is a good message to parents everywhere. I find that when I spend time with kids I am totally enlightened.
Last year for Christmas our youngest received a video game called Minecraft. He loves it. His brother loves it. His friends at church and school have it. All the kids in the neighborhood love it. So, as presents go, it was successful. We have all kinds of attachments and accessories to go with it. Upgrades, I think they call them, but overall a successful gift in many ways. A gift which brings many boys to my living room. Madden 16 brings an older crowd, but Minecraft brings the smaller ones in.
One fine day after the bus roared out of the neighborhood, the boys in the neighborhood met in our living room to play the game. When they came in the backdoor they were sweaty, as young boys should be, and they were thirsty. As each one entered I offered him a drink. Some took soda (in Texas we would say coke). Others took water. One took Gatorade. They were clicking away and talking to each other when one of the youngest neighbors wondered in the back door.
He knocked as he worked his shoes off at the door. His eyes were glued to the game on the television. He ignored me but I stopped him by the kitchen.
“Do you want a drink?” I asked as I picked up his jacket.
He shrugged and my youngest shouted over to him, “We are having root beers.”
The young boy looked concerned and very seriously said, “I don’t drink beer.”
The older boys laughed and told him that it was root beer. They had the cool brown bottles to show him. He back up a little and said that only his dad could drink beer, that he was too little.
I smiled and intercepted the conversation. “Well, how about a different soda?”
He immediately shook his head and said, “I can’t drink sodas.”
I nodded and asked if he might like a Gatorade or sports drink. He shrugged his thin, little shoulders. “I have only had one Gatorade before – at my grandma’s and grandpa’s. But they are different than my mom and dad. They let me do things.”
So serious, but he knew the rules. I raised my eyebrows and made tut-tutting noises. “Well, do you think you might want to drink a Gatorade here?”
He tilted his head to the side and said, “Yeah, I might try it.”
I got him a Blue Freeze Gatorade and opened it for him. He took a sip and sat it down on the table and joined the other boys. They played and sipped their drinks. In short time, my son asked if they might all have some of the cheapy, lemon cookies that we buy at Walmart. I got them out and handed a few to each boy.
The young neighbor looked skeptical. I held out my hand to him and he scrambled to the back door, put on his shoes and ran out.
“Hmmm…,” I thought.
Within a few minutes, he came panting back to the door, slung off his shoes, and tromped into the house. Breathless, he announced, “I can have two cookies.”
I handed him the cookies but he could not make himself pick up the Gatorade. He downed the cookies and asked for water.
After the games were over and it was time for homework, the younger boys drifted back to their houses and my older kids drifted in. The basically full Gatorade sat on the table when the pre-teen barged in the back door. He grabbed the Blue Freeze Gatorade, poured it down the hatch, burped, and asked for a snack. “Thanks for having a drink ready for me. I was really tired from running.”
I smiled and told him that I was glad to have a drink waiting for him.
My sage advice for spending more time with the kids?
Be flexible and remember: What they don’t know won’t hurt them.