Spontaneity

People with ADD are often spontaneous. As with all character qualities, this comes with its up side and its down side. The down side includes those times when I don’t really think throoooough a situation before jumping into it. Ask my husband; this happens quite a bit, and he is an angel for going with the flow.

The up side occurred tonight. From our home it’s about a 30-40 minute drive to the kids’ school. We had an event downtown this evening so driving back to suburbia, only to turn around again in an hour, didn’t sound so appealing. Downtown Indy has lots of options for families but I had to choose wisely… something that fit the interests of all four boys, something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, and something that was fairly low-key for this tired Mom. We opted for duckpin bowling.

We headed to Fountain Square, back to the era of the Beav, to Pleasantville, to Happy Days. In fact it would have seemed quite natural if the Fonz himself joined us for a little bowl-o-rama. As we descended the stairs to the duckpin bowling alleys, the boys were excited to see we had the place to ourselves. We rented our shoes and headed to lane 5. As I watched my boys, all four of them, I wanted to freeze time. That phrase and idea is so overused, but I can’t think of any other way to put it. I even wrote a note to myself on our score sheet: “Live in this moment. It is precious.” And I started recording all of the things I wanted to remember as I watched my four little boys becoming not so little boys. Since I didn’t have my camera, I wrote the little things I wanted to capture in my mind’s eye. Here are some of the snapshots:

All the boys cheering for Asher when he knocked 8 pins down, after scoring zero on his first two turns. And I mean really cheering, arms up in the air, high fives all around, “way to go, Asher”-type phrases.

Noah and Eli walking Jaden halfway down the alley and showing him how to roll the ball with both hands, coaching him as if he were trying out for the Olympic games. And Jaden loving the attention. He would roll it, and as it moved ever so slooooowly, he would shake his hips back and forth in anticipation.

The authentic encouragement spoken to each boy if they didn’t knock any pins over. “That’s okay; you’ll get it next time.”

The way they handed each other the bowling balls, like little servants for one another.

Asher sitting on the next lane, near the end, watching the mechanics of the pins being scooped up and swept away, and then again watching diligently as the balls returned to us. You could almost see the cogs turning inside his engineering head.

Eli wanting to keep score and making sure I had every pin written down correctly.

No whining for an hour. Not even once.

It was magical. That last sentence alone should tell you that. After our bowling hour expired, we washed our black hands and headed upstairs to the Diner. I think the name is actually the Shelby Smokehouse. The boys ordered cherry coke floats which about sent our waiter into a fit because he had already told me they only do Coke floats or Root Beer floats. When the boys asked if they had Cherry Coke, he said yes they make it with the cherry syrup, but no Cherry Coke float. I think he calmed down when I told him that I think they could do a Coke float with some cherry syrup in it. He told me he would look into it and let me know if that was possible. When he returned, he had four Cherry Coke floats on his tray.

As we ate dinner, we played the story-tag game… you know how it goes… one person starts the story and each person gets to add a sentence. The problems began when each boy had their own idea of how the plot should twist and turn. We had a construction worker who was simply trying to build a condominium in Florida when he realized he forgot his nails in his truck. When he returned to his truck, everything in his truck, including his wallet with millions of dollars, had been stolen. Apparently a snake came by with the wallet in its mouth. But the nails were still missing.

I won’t go into the story any more but let’s just say that by the end of dinner, our poor construction man had been hunted by a wild man on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. Yes, life with boys. It’s rarely dull, especially when they are all so different.

As we walked to the car, we came to a corner where we had to wait at the crosswalk. There on the grass lay a white, very dead cat. My oldest said, in his most monotone voice, “A dead cat,” as if he were pointing out a broken bottle or someone’s lost mitten. We all looked at it, laying there all dead as dead can be, and then moved on. After the story we had just written in the Diner, what was a dead cat to us?

We wrapped up the night at the Harrison Center for the Arts, where a friend of ours was playing an acoustic set from his new cd, and the artists had opened their studios for tours and questions. It’s such an accessible place for families to experience art, and the monthly themes are always so fun. Tonight the title of the show was “Road Trip” and in addition to the aforementioned events, and new works in the main gallery, the gymnasium was staged like a state park, filled with fake, glowing campfires, fishing, Smoky the Bear, nature videos, kum bah yah sing-a-longs and tents. Outside in the courtyard sat a few more tents, an old camper and a real fire complete with s’mores.

It’s easy to get lost in schedules and day to day minutiae. I am so grateful that God gave me the grace to appreciate the moments I had with my family tonight. Although my camera lens was absent, the lens to my heart was fully present.

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