Monday, October 1, 2012
It's Sunday afternoon and we are in yet another big box store. Ethically, I am opposed to everything shopping in such stores such represent and yet, here I am again. I have both boys with me and have told them that we are running in for only the couple things on my list and they are not getting anything. Except for a minor breakdown at the front door over the fact there are no car-fronted shopping carts available we are managing rather well until we wander a little too close to the 'seasonal' section of the store, currently stocked with Halloween. Alright, alright, we will look, but absolutely no buying! Understand? They are so absorbed in going from item to item and making skeletons scream and spiders wiggle they barely hear me. As I'm walking down the costume aisle I see it. The costume I know B is going to absolutely love. You know how you think your kid is going to love something, you're sure the dinner you made is going to be gobbled up, or the sweater you've knitted is their favorite color, or the toy you bought for their birthday will be played with for hour upon happy hour? You know how you often get that wrong? Totally, disastrously (who is this kid anyway?) wrong. Well, this time I knew I had it right. There was only one costume left in his size. Two boys. One costume that had to be had. Life is like that sometimes. Q handled it well. A little visibly hurt however, at almost ten years old he's beginning to get the idea of 'fairness' intellectually. B on the other hand looked at me with a face that told me I was OK in his book. The fact he didn't have to ask or rather beg for something he really wanted, the fact that I found it and called him over and said B, "look at this...would you want to be a policeman for Halloween?" B looked up with those huge brown eyes, unsure for a moment if I was talking about NOW or some day a few weeks awway and then he knew it was today and that gorgeous smile spread across his face. "Let's go to the changer room mommy!" Another subdued tantrum as I tried to explain you couldn't try on costumes but the promise that he could put it on when we got home and then wear it to the park was enough.
I would like to say that the rest of the time in the store went well. It didn't. My kids are real kids. A costume you haven't yet tried on is worth about 2 3/4 minutes of good behavior. Once we arrived on our street we were lucky and found a parking spot right in front our building (doesn't happen often) and were able to carry all of our purchases up the stairs in one go (not a small thing when you live on the fourth floor!) The moment we put the packages down B went diving through the bags until he found his costume and asked for me to open it. I helped him into it and this is how he looked. This photo was taken about five hours after he put it on, but his face didn't change much in that time. Can we go to the park, NOW mommy?? He practically screamed. Dinner had to be made, laundry washed and a work project attended to and it was 4:00 p.m. on Sunday night, but how could I say no? Yes, I say and both he and Q are out the door with me fake quietly saying 'be careful on the stairs, walk don't run, don't be so loud it's not polite!" B looks for me to hold my hand crossing the street and once across he runs into our little neighborhood park (which is blessedly directly across the street from our apartment.) He is all intent and purpose and immediately finds someone to rope into the scenes that are already playing in his head. It's a little girl who we have never seen before. She must be 2 1/2 or 3 years old, she's on a tricycle and her father is dutifully walking behind her as she peddles around the the park. B runs up to her and stops a few feet in front and sticks out his hand and yells "That's it! Your going to jail for speeding!" The father laughs and with a huge smile and a thick French accent says "Please officer, she's a tourist, she doesn't yet know the rules!" "Doesn't matter! She's going to jail because I say that's a rule!" The father asks B if he is going to be a police officer for Halloween and B replies "I'm a police officer now!" Like everything that happens in the park this little scene is immediately folded into other stories that are being played out by a half dozen children. Eventually Y comes back from the grocery store, B running up the side walk "DAD!!!! DAD!!! I'm an officer!!!!!" Y gets out of the car laughing. It was a good day to a long and not so easy weekend. We may have found the costume that B will have his portrait painted in. Only time will tell. In any case, portrait or not, we will all remember for a long, long time the picture of B putting on his uniform and instantly becoming on the outside the B he is on the inside.