Supervising

23 02 2008

I saw a sweet sight this morning. Neal’s gift to Brenna last Christmas was a monetary one that came with a promise to take her clothes shopping on a “Daddy date.” They got up early today to go on their date, and it was sweet to see Brenna go out the door with him with her hair in braided pigtails, all scrubbed and shiny and happy.
They stayed out four hours, hit Target and a sale at Belk’s, spent twice their budget and ate lunch together at Pizza Inn. Previously I had gone through B’s clothes with her, taking out the too-small or unliked garments. Together we made a list of what she might need or want. It was supposed to be a list of suggestions, but my very literal husband bought everything on it plus some extras, consisting of a dress he thought was too cute to resist, an extra pair of church shoes and two belts! His only complaint was that they couldn’t figure out what “yoga pants” were, despite the fact that Bren’s been wearing them for years.

In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have turned the two of them loose in the mall. But they had fun. Brenna will probably remember this day for years. The two of them are thick as thieves right now, and they’re out on the front porch repairing B’s bike tires in the drizzling rain.

I wish there were some way I could bring my oldest son and husband together that way, but I think the two of them are too much alike. They inhabit the same space in life and breathe each other’s air. They both love to deliver lectures, enjoying the sound of their own voices more than the other person’s. Although my husband denies it (and despises it in his son), they both like to make wild statements of positive fact based on scanty-to-non-existant evidence. Neither one of them can tell a joke to save their lives, but they are both frequently amusing by accident. A part of this is that they both have a fondness for using big words without worrying very much about the actual definition of said words. And like many men, they both want to be the one holding the tool and are irrationally convinced that if the other one will just give over the hammer, they can fix it.

I have developed a death-like glare to deal with this problem. They’re both just so eagerly helpful, they’ll help me right out of the way and take over. So when one of them approaches, hand out to “help” me when I don’t really need it, I give them this glare. Neal will rock back on his heels, put his hands in his pockets and say, “So, how’s it going?” Donal just says, “Whoops!” and ducks.

I suppose, in a spirit of quid pro quo, I should now talk about some of my personality flaws. Chief among them right now is a tendency to play with my Webkinz instead of doing the dishes. Neal has had to catch up the stacks of dishes for me twice this week. ( I MISS my dishwasher.) I also haven’t been keeping up with the clothes folding. I have done very little school this week, though I’ve hung curtains (OK, I nagged Neal into hanging the curtains for me, but I ironed them), made a grocery list and meal plan (Neal did the shopping) and finished decorating the little boy’s room. Hmmm… what else did I do? I spent three hours Wednesday morning working on a short story and didn’t do any of my work. Took the kids shopping and spent money we didn’t really have buying books. Have I actually done ANY work? Good grief. I must have done something! I did volunteer for the library Book Buddies program, but I’m afraid a good deal of the bread of idleness has been eaten around here this week (in my case the ice cream of idleness.)

Maybe I’ve just been busy supervising.

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