Cora "I forgot it was Mother's Day so I turned my card for my music teacher into your's."
Um...why thank you.
Sam's card is rolled out wrapping paper with random pieces of magazine cut outs half glued to a menagerie of dinosaurs rawring that he told zander to draw. Ender addresses his card : "To the one I love."
It's highly likely that gigantic wild things rolled and rollicked in the woods, turning up great mammoth pieces of granite for their playground equipment. Then, as it usually goes, mysteriously vanished, leaving only evidence behind for the believers.
The kids and their two little friends went rogue. The boulders and trees swallowed them up and spat them out again feral and happy. They encountered another gaggle of kids and at one point, it seemed, as though two warring parties would be, once and for all, staking claim on this granite kingdom. Alas, they made peace and joined forces instead.
I have a 40lb parasite strapped to my back and we're trudging through the countless trails at Dreamy Draw. It's hot. "You horse, I'm cowboy. Ye-haw!" Fine, I'll do it. Whinny, whinny, neigh, neigh, clippity, clippity clop. Satisfied, he settles into his pack and keeps his eye on the trail for snakes. I tell him they're everywhere and it's up to him to keep us safe.
At the top of one lower crest he wants to hike himself. I manage to safely lower the tubby tot to the ground and the feeling of floating almost takes my breath away.
Being carried is a lot of work, so after a snack and a long drink from his canteen, he's ready to adventure on his own two feet. He takes gravity by the hand and they skip off down the path as I'm yelling at them to slow down! Sam quickly realizes the mountain needs some rearranging and starts to throw any and all rocks. At one point he presses into the side of the hill and with all his might attempts to the move it, all of it. Funnily enough, it doesn't budge, so he goes back to picking up huge stones and tossing them aside. Breathing heavily, grunting, growling, the rocks are quivering in fear. "I'm da man! Nothin break me down. Gas in the tank. Money, bank. I'm da man! Rawwrrr!"
An unexpected uprising of earth on the grandest level. Stoic saguaros sentineled at the bottom, gradually giving way to a mountain robed in wildflowers and crowned with aspen and pine, flecked in shimmering mica.
Cora made the funeral march with me out to the recycle bin and watched as our vacuum cleaner was chucked. "Wait, what are you doing? Don't throw it away!" I give her a logical explanation as to why the vacuum cleaner needs trashing and yet... "I'm sensitive to old things"
I can't help but smile big. Yes, Cora!
I remember sitting in my parent's garage, staring deep into the unblinking headlights of our blue volkswagon van crying because my parents were going to sell her. We talked for a long time, me mostly sobbing out thank yous and her saying nothing as most vans do. She faithfully hauled our family west on the I-40 when we moved from Oklahoma. She protected me and my sister while we slept in the early morning hours, as we took daddy to work. We laid without seat belts and pressed ourselves against the heater as her engine lulled us back to sleep.
I remember too, lady. The vacuum used to be my sister in laws and she gave it to us when it seemed all we could afford was hand me downs. It was the first to show me Ender's acute dexterity and focus at the crawling age. It was the horsey that the kids rode around while it sucked up cheerios, dog hair and the sacrificial lego. And it taught the kids one of their first hard lessons in cause and effect. Push this button and the cord whips to attention and winds back up inside the machine. One of their favorite games.
I wouldn't be surprised if I find a place in heaven for old machines. OR I have been thoroughly brainwashed by "The Brave Little Toaster". (highly likely)
If Cora views you as more vulnerable than her (Sam, Gunther, even me in a stressful situation) she has your back.
No spanking for Sam, no scolding for Gunther and "please Sam, you need to be more generous to mom. She's the one doing everything and you're just sitting there eating."
If I am complaining about something, she will unapologetically remind me, "Life is life mom, get over it"
Wild and free, the ne ne bird is yet to be extinct in our house. No clothes, no problem.
He was excited to try out his little rocket in the backyard. We had to rummage through our very top secret supplies that N.A.S.A air dropped onto our front door when word got out that one of their next champions of space exploration was born.
"Let's see Ender.... ah, yes! here they are." I looked down at him in all seriousness, then with a knowing smile, "You're old enough now"
He was beaming.
"Thanks mom!" He handled the baking soda and vinegar very carefully, minding where Sam was at all times. Such volatile components could absolutely not fall into the wrong hands. What a blunder and embarrassment that would be!
I and his tag-a-long siblings followed him out to the launch pad super excited and confused (Sam).
I unfolded the instructions and read aloud the complicated mathematical procedure.
I poured. I shook. We waited.
Fizzle. Fizzle. Nothing.
So Ender had the audacity to pipe up and say "Let me try!"
(Wait, you try your own rocket that was given to you and not me?! You're bold, boy.)
"Let's put in more baking soda!"
"No, Ender, you have to use a perfect ratio of baking soda and vinegar or the chemical reaction will not work!"
"Just do it mom."
"No, it won't work"
He clenched his fist and strained his neck...."I DON'T CARE! I'm experimenting! It's an experiment!"
I look up at him, blinking incredulously.
"Forgive me teacher. I forgot my humble position."
Of course I didn't say that. But of course it's true once again.
I apologize and hand over his toy. The fun ensues as the rocket "fails" over and over again. He's having a blast.
Later that evening.....
Sam and I are assembling his tracks so his little battery operated car can meander through ramps, bridges and circles of paper flames. I read the instructions and make sure to copy them verbatim. Meanwhile, Sam is working himself into a frenzy as I am linking all the parts together.
"No, no, no, no" He chants. His points and grunts to the bridge. "Bridge, bridge!" Then he takes his car and tries to shove it under the bridge.
"Oh you helpless 2 year old. The car does not go under the bridge. You poop your own pants. Clearly, you still need me."
His face deepens to a crimson, (quite a chameleon, he is) and begins to wind up for another epic tantrum.
Well, you learn to read the signs quick and try to head off the monster. Okay, he won't listen to my words, I'll just have to prove it to him.
"Oh. Well look at that. Huh." So the car and tracks actually do fit under the bridge. Sam is giddy with satisfaction watching his car go under the bridge instead over the bridge. His simple desire created another level of entertainment that the box didn't intend. Well, if they just included Step #11: Allow your child creative freedom and don' let our box confine them, then we wouldn't have any issues to begin with. So there! Strike 2 for the wanna be perfectionist rule follower, who has always been too lazy to emulate her Type A heroes, anyway.
And my "can do" girl. Determined to do all things by herself except wipe after using the restroom. I'm pretty sure that is the mark of a genius.
During Christmas break its tradition to go through the film trilogy Lord if the Rings with the kids. Ender repeatedly asks "who am I?"
And repeatedly we tell him "Oh you are Legolas for sure, Ender"
"Why?" He smiles and wants to know, again.
"You would be from the line of Elves. Beautiful, strong, clear blue eyes that can perceive beyond the horizon of this world (and Crebain, the spies of Suruman and orc scouts of course) Your hand eye coordination is worthy to wield an elivsh bow and arrow".
Satisfied. He moves to the next question with a sly smile
"And who is Cora?" Before we can tell him he offers up a name, "GIMLI!" Now what little bird put that ornery thought in his head? Zander is on the couch snickering. Well, sure she is stout, hardy, unafraid, a comic relief, lover of jewels, however, as her mother I must put my foot down on this one and say "Absolutely not! My lady lynn is not a dwarf" But who is she then? Much like in life, she's a tricky one to categorize. Not like we have to do that to anyone, but it is a helpful tool to construct a deeper understanding of someone. (And her parents are nerds. What are the rules for that anyway? Are we "cool" nerds or just "nerd nerds. Don't answer that.) Now, she's short with curly hair like a hobbit with a knack for adventure. Then I got to thinking "What if she is a mixed line, like between dwarf and elf!" Then I remembered Peter Jackson's atrocity in The Hobbit trying to force a romance between Tauriel and Kili. I wanted to puke. (Kate needed to get Lost, again.) Anyway, almost done here, Cora's character might be found in some more obscure tale in the books that the Hollywood creators left out of the film. I will be re reading the books this spring. That said.
For Christmas, my mom, brings her two darling grand kids, all the way from the shadow lands of Amazon, two rings to rule them, the pink Fire tablet and the blue one. It can pass through Cora's hands and she only briefly makes a fuss when its time to stop playing. But, given to the elvish boy, corruption of his tender spirit rapidly progresses. He will fight tooth and nail to keep "my precious" in his possession. It's hysterical and um...concerning. He made me cry once, but I couldn't tell if it was because I was laughing so hard or because I was having a nervous break down. Apparently the soul of Sauran deals in gaming for kids. But, nothing but a bit of dirt and sunshine can't fix and 10 burpees.
At ten o clock the night before, it just occurred to me that there was going to be a total eclipse of the sun and it's path of totality and would be gracing the beautiful states of America. I started reading all the hype on the internet about it and got swept away real quick. Worry set it. Ender's school was going to keep him inside during the eclipse. As was Cora's. Ping pong went my thoughts. Should I or should I not take them out of school so they could experience the event, even if it would only be partially obscured? Am I bad mom? It's times like these I close my eyes and pretend to have wrinkly skin and grey hair. My elderly more cinical self laughed at my younger more uptight self. Wait, was she laughing at me cause I worry too much and lack wisdom, just keep them in school? Or was she laughing because I worry too much and just let 'em play hookie for crying out loud?! I called mama. I fretted over the phone with her. All night I stewed. But woke up and decided away we fly with handmade pin holes to the archery range.
There were clouds, there was heat, there was a two year old and there was, inevitably, somebody who had to poop.
So, away we went to my parent's house around the bend.
The boy creator, the girl explorer, and the baby juggernaut suffer their mama's ideas. I dare say they love it.
The moon slipped perfectly over the sun. The iris and the pupil, unblinking down at their inquisitive earthlings.
Zander must have a knack for pinning the personality or the specific blessing of our children while they still live hidden in the womb. One evening, on the bench swing, zander was mulling over our unborn Sammy. "Who will he be to us? Our hearts are already full with Ender (our heart) and Cora (our joy). What more could God give?"
That's it. God could give more. More of everything. More peace, more strength, more hair (on his back). Our cup will runneth over with Sam. Even though he comes last, he will be betwixt the two extremes, as a strong joint, connecting the trio together.
We got really excited for Sam to come at that point.
A few of my favorite birthday gifts came wrapped up in a monsoon rain.
First thing in the morning they found a stiff gecko on our patio. Immediately they got to work and built an extensive burial site. It had a campfire covering, brick walls and roofing and ornamented with a large, pink quartz. At their request I said a brief eulogy and expressed our gratitude for the gecko's tireless contribution to helping our backyard grow and be an ecologically balanced place. After the service, they stumbled upon the "abandoned" baby gecko and built it a home. Then they went out in the backyard killing bugs for it to eat. I just told them to leave the bugs be and stop being helicopter parents.
Overheard breakfast conversation between the old married couple of the home....
E: "Whats your favorite word, Cora?"
E: "Mine is adventure...."
C: "I mean mine is rock climbing.....and adventure!"