A Running Dialogue

Keeping a list, checking it twice

By Renee Phile

“I hurt my foot, and I don’t think I can sit through church,” he said on a rainy Sunday morning about 10 a.m. We needed to leave at 10:15 to get there on time, which we almost never do.

“You’re fine. Get dressed. And don’t wear the same clothes you slept in,” I said, reinforcing the obvious just to be on the safe side.

He groaned. “My foot hurts like really bad! I know you think I’m faking, but I’m not. Honest, I’m not. I can’t make it through church with this.”

“Be ready in 15 minutes.”

Yes, this took place. Yes, he went to church. Yes, his foot is fine. No, we didn’t make it on time.

With two boys under my own feet, life is always in motion. Trips to school, to wrestling practice, to the grocery store, to youth group, to band practice, to galaxies far, far away. Sometimes as I’m dozing off at night and I think about what I did that day, all that comes to mind is a whirlwind. It goes by so fast that I decided to lasso the cyclone. In an effort to preserve the moments I have with these two, I write down the things they say. Here is a small sample from 10-year-old Kevin:

“I am a wizard at Battleship, and you are . . . just a starter, Mommy. You need some major tips.” (He beat me 7-1.)

“I have been waiting an hour and only have an inch of macaroni!”

(Ruby Tuesdays. Sunday afternoon. The wait was short but the portion didn’t fulfill his macaroni dreams.)

“I need to get my Halloween costume ready.” (It’s June.)

“Can we eat macaroni every night?” (He asks this before I go to the grocery store. Every week.)

“I don’t get why my sweet potato counts as dessert! That’s not fair!” (Hey, I tried.)

“If it was thundering while we were having Halloween, I would look even creepier.” (Again, it was June).

“I’m kind of glad I didn’t wait until I was 12 to jump off the diving board.” (When he was 7, I told him we weren’t leaving the pool until he jumped off the diving board. Three years later I’m some kind of savant.)

“I will take care of you when you get old. David probably won’t, so I will.” (Thank you, Kevin. By the way, can we put that in writing? Just sign here.)

“Can I please go to Grandma Jean’s house? I know she misses me. Can we have a huge Nerf gun war?” (Undoubtedly, the part she misses the most.)

And here are a few of my counteroffers:

“Your foot’s fine. You don’t even limp unless you think someone is watching you.” (Sunday, theater of the absurd.)

“Quit reading your Lego directions in church.” (Whose kid is this?)

“Stop taking selfies in church.” (Oh yes, he did.)

“No, you can’t use your fork after you dropped it on the floor.” (Temporarily thwarted in his attempt to devour an inch of macaroni.)

“You don’t need to figure out your Halloween costume right this minute.” (Did I mention it was June?)

“So, what do I do, Admiral?” (Let’s face it, I need Battleship help.)

“No, you cannot wear that shirt and those pants today. You wore them the last two days.” (Some things cannot be stressed enough.)

“Grandma Jean is a pacifist.” (Nerfwise.)

So, there you go. I never know what will come out of his mouth, and to be honest, I usually never know what will come out of mine either. PS

Renee Phile loves being a teacher, even if it doesn’t show at certain moments.

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