Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That Luke, He's a Growin'

Luke turned six a couple of weeks ago while we were in Alaska. It was the perfect sort of birthday for him: a two-part celebration, taking the pressure off of any one night. Because we were doing it this way, we talked to him a lot about how he wouldn’t be getting many gifts on either night, and how at the second party, his birthday was only part of the focus. So he was sweet and grateful for his gifts and not too demanding of attention. (Okay, he did demand that my dad design a treasure hunt with a birthday present at the end.) On the day of the birthday itself, we made his favorites for dinner—boxed macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza, and a huge platter of berries, with chocolate cupcakes for dessert. It was just my family and a couple of presents—and the treasure hunt, in the clues of which my dad obligingly included the word poop. Then, a few days later, Craig’s parents had their usual summer “friends and family party,” where we also sang Luke happy birthday, ate cake, and watched Luke open a few more presents from the guests who knew he had recently turned six.

And next week—next week!—Luke starts first grade. Somehow this feels a little scarier to me than Kindergarten. He will be in school until three in the afternoon instead of until 11 am. He will probably have homework. Last night, Luke tearfully asked, “If I am in school all day, and if Daddy puts us to bed, when will I ever see you?” I tried to explain that “full day” school doesn’t mean “all day” school, but he is still anxious about the upcoming year.

But Luke is growing up. He is often calmer. He doesn’t scream and cry as much as he used to. He wants more independence. He climbed a whole mountain when we were in Alaska.

And he has big plans for the future. Last night while we were driving in the car, coming back from a canoe and swimming trip and listening to what the kids refer to as “rock and roll,” Luke said dreamily, “When I grow up I’ll have to get a job. And the job I will get is a player in a rock and roll band.”

Here he paused dramatically, making sure that we were all listening.

“And we will play INAPPROPRIATE MUSIC.”

Oh, yes, he is growing up. Climbing mountains, making plans for the future. He even recently commented on his past writing, noting how “babyish” a story that he wrote a year and a half ago is. At one point, the hero of the story is in big trouble, but then he finds a “radiation poner” which saves him. Luke laughed and laughed, and then said, “When I was four I said crazy stuff.”

This morning he spent an hour in his room, finally emerging with a contraption that he called the “bionitransmogulator.” Boy, good thing Luke is six now so he no longer invents crazy stuff.

I remain hopeful that his imagination will serve him well. The other day we were playing at the park and he wanted me to pretend to be his slave. I said no, that I would pretend to be his servant but not his slave.

“But WHY?” Luke whined.

“Well, Luke, in our country we used to do something very horrible. We made black people slaves and it was so awful, one of the worst things in the history of our country. And so the word slave makes a lot of people think of that,” I responded, thinking, as I talked, that I was saying too much.

Luke thought for a little while. Then he replied, “Okay, Mom. But who were the People of the Black?”

How I hope Luke can continue to invent bionitransmogulators, conquer mountains, imagine worlds in which race doesn’t exist. Happy Birthday, my big six-year-old boy. May it be a year of wild stories and big dreams.


paige maddex said...

ok - I realize I haven't kept in touch - and don't mean to be inappropriate! But I have linked to your blog - I have just laughed out loud too many times reading te stories about your kids - and wanted my family (sisters who are new moms, primarily) to be able to benefit from your wit and sarcasm. Please take it as a compliment! I hope you and your family are doing well. - Love, Paige

Beck said...

He sounds like SUCH a fun kid. I wish you lived in my town, so he could hang out with my Boy. And they could start a band that plays Inappropriate Music.

so yung wilson said...

I wish I could create a treasure hunt for him. I'll to do that next time we see you. Which should be soon, right?

Molly Sabourin said...

Oh Ser,

Paige and I were just talking about you this afternoon and how much we enjoy your stories. Thank you so much for posting them. Your boys are phenomenal.

Ser said...

Paige, of course it is fine if you link to me! I'm so glad to know you are enjoying my blog. I'm off to look at yours. Even though we don't keep in touch much, I miss you and our mommy bunch from Christ the Savior.

Everyone--why is it that every time I get comments about what neat/creative/smart/whatever kids I have, I think, "Oh, I've represented them wrong." They ARE all of these great things and more. But they are also a lot of difficult, flawed, awful things sometimes, and I always feel guilty, for some reason, that I don't write about those things more often.

Dove Knits said...

I'm glad he's still saying "some crazy stuff"!

so yung wilson said...

Ser, I'm probably wrong, but I think what's so great about your blogs is that you have openly shared your frustration and difficulty involved with raising two strong personalities with humor and wit. I think the portraits you have created of your boys is realistic and human which is one reason why they are so beautiful. Your blogs shed neither the overly harsh fluorescent lighting nor the dimmed soft white light on your boys. Rather, your blogs are the Reveal Lights that complement yet expose all the beauty and flaws. (Your blogs are not the Sun because only Christ has that kind of light and power.) Oh gag. I'm going to throw-up at this lame literary attempt.

Don't worry, we all know how awful your boys are and how creative, wonderful, loving, and intellectual they are as well!

Ser said...

Thanks for your comment, So Yung. I'm glad you know how awful my boys are sometimes. Both from this blog and from real life. :) And I'm glad you love them (and us!) anyway.

so yung wilson said...

You know, I don't think I'd enjoy Luke and Henry so much if they were all sweetness and light. Their awfulness gives them that little wicked edge that I personally look for in friends. And I do think of them as friends. Very young friends that I can't drink with yet.

Nancy said...

Speaking of awfulness and light...Brian and I were just talking (in the context of a family visit) about how there is a difference between treating your child as if s/he is perfect and letting your child know you love him, warts and all. I think the "perfect" message would be wrong, because once the kid realizes he's not perfect, he might think he won't be lovable if mom and dad figure it out.

Ser, I think you've got the parenting thing straight on in this respect - you see their flaws, you try to help them work on them, but meanwhile, you love them to pieces anyway. And we, your readers, get to watch. It is a good ride!