Ken believes strongly that he should never break a promise to any of our children. This is a good thing, but it also means that last night when we got home from Salt Lake (exhausted from an evening of dental cleanings, dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, rides back and forth through the TRAX free-fare zone and a visit to the planetarium) and Ethan reminded his dad that he had promised to buy him a baseball mitt, they went right out and bought one. Never mind that it was 10 pm. Ken loaded all three boys into the car and took them on a late-night father/sons shopping spree at Walmart. It’s fortunate that Walmart is open 24 hours for just such a sporting-goods emergency.
They took the Ford Explorer because buying baseball equipment is a manly errand and the Explorer is the manly vehicle of the family. The boys love to ride in the Explorer because even though it’s an older model, we only bought it a few weeks ago and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet. Also, it’s big and has 4-wheel drive so if you feel like taking that detour OVER THE MOUNTAIN on your way to Walmart, you totally could. Best of all, only Dad can drive the Explorer because the seat-adjuster switch is broken and I literally can’t reach the pedals. Ken insists he didn’t realize this when arranging to buy the Explorer from his friend, but I'm just saying it's interesting how conveniently it all worked out.
That’s fine with me. One of these days Nora and I are going to get even: we’ll buy a mauve VW bug convertible outfitted with bumper stickers that say “Honk if you cried during Sleepless in Seattle” and “Estrogen on board.” Then we can run late-night errands to Walmart for chocolate and tampons.
Thomas Eakins, Baseball Practice
So I wake up this morning to the sound of baseballs bouncing off their bedroom walls. Each of the boys has a new mitt and their own ball and I sense some valuable rite of passage has taken place. I send them outside, of course, and suffer a pang of guilt for not offering to join them in their All-American boys-will-be-boys session of toss and catch. But I have laundry to do and truth be told an aversion to all things athletic. I don’t know what God was thinking when he sent me 3 boys because I have not one coordinated bone in my body. I can’t stress this enough. I’m the woman who broke her foot walking into her garage, remember? There’s a reason why my only “sport” is jogging and even then I’m surprised I have the dexterity to run in a straight line without doing myself serious bodily harm. So if my boys want to learn to toss a ball or spit saliva with the proper arc or adjust their equipment as they run for home base, they will just have to talk to their dad.
To ensure Ken has the proper motivation to train his boys in the manly arts, I create the need for balance. I encourage the boys to play chess and allow them to develop insatiable book and computer addictions. I teach my boys to play the piano and read to them from The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables. For heaven’s sakes, we watch nature documentaries together for fun. If they turn out to be anything less than world-class nerds I’ll be surprised. And disappointed, frankly. With the exception of professional athletes, nerds make a lot more money than jocks and I’m really looking forward to a high-quality nursing home.