Tuesday, June 12, 2012

and had it not three corners it would not be my hat

Well, it froze the other night and killed most of the tender beans and squash I'd rescued from being eaten by the chickens.  So that's neat, and in this year when we're about a month ahead of schedule on temperatures it feels especially frustrating.  Why must I fail at every attempt at masonry? 

We went to Lagoon last week, which is a theme park here in Utah, for those who are unfamiliar with it.  I was totally dreading it, because the last time John and I went there on a whim during an anniversary trip I came away pretty darn bitter.  So hot, so many disgusting people, such a dump.  But on Wednesday it was nice and cool, the clientele was slightly less skeevy, and the grounds hadn't been trashed by the hordes of people yet, so we had a marvelous time.  Except:  is making out in lines becoming acceptable?  Or is it still just gross teenagers and maladapted adults doing it?  I hope it's still shameful, because I don't like that stuff.

When I was a senior in high school I dated a boy who was a twin.  He and his brother were very close, and very rambunctious, and they had a younger brother who was just like them.  Rich told me the most terrible stories.  There was a great big hole in the dry wall on the stair landing of their house, because they had been roughhousing and one of them threw the other one into the wall and ruined the dry wall.  Once Rich was chasing his brother Rob up the stairs (more roughhousing; you might even call it horseplay!) and Rob kicked back with his leg and kicked Rich's ear almost clean off his head.  He had to get stitches to re-attach it.  They wrestled and shouted and threw balls in the house and made messes all over the place, and their room was like an archaeological dig (to be fair, so was mine).  Their mom was wonderful, so sweet and welcoming and generous.  A peach of a lady for whom I carry residual fondness.  I witnessed a few mild-mannered attempts to corral the boys' exuberance, but in general she seemed to have resigned herself to living with a pack of feral dogs.  I liked Rich a lot, loved him even, as far as I was able at that time, and I loved his family.  But I did not understand him.  He was like a foreign species, the way he and his brothers acted.  They were so wild!  And their mom seemed unable or uninterested in stopping it.  I was on a fairly tight rein with my parents, so I didn't understand why their parents just didn't make them stop being so hyper and destructive. 

Yesterday Grant was dribbling his basketball in the living room.  On our way home from one of his dismal basketball games recently I was going through my usual post-game lecture, the one where I say I don't care whether he excels at basketball or not, but he doesn't get to not practice and not know how to handle the ball and then complain that he doesn't get played enough.  I said, "You have to practice dribbling.  You just have to do it," and then I heard myself say, "I will even let you dribble in the house if you want to, just practice!"  I have spent twelve years telling my kids and John NOT to throw or bounce balls in the house--fourteen years, if you count the times that John was throwing balls before we had kids.  He liked to lie on his back on the carpet and throw a ball so it would just barely brush the ceiling.  Why?  Anyway, I went and gave Grant permission to do the thing I'd yelled at him countless times about, and then when he was taking advantage of his new privileges yesterday, it crystallized in my mind:  I understand my friend's mom, and I have become her.  My exuberant, destructive boys have finally worn me down, and now I have my own pack of wild dogs.  I'm going to have to concede defeat in the battle for not bouncing balls in the house, because I realize now that it's not a battle that matters or that I can care about anymore. There's a saying in our house, and probably elsewhere in Mormondom, not to treat policy like doctrine, meaning that there are things that are True, and then there are things that we do because somebody thought it was a good idea, and we shouldn't treat the latter like it's truth from on high.  And I guess I decided that not bouncing balls is policy, not doctrine.

Check back with me in a month or two when my house is a shambles from the constantly ricocheting balls and see if I've reinstated the no-balls policy, or if I've given up even more.  I shudder to think what next thing I'm going to cave on.


Sarah said...

Oh my gosh, your friend's mom was totally living in my house when I was growing up. My poor mother. And now, you too can live in that house. With holes in the walls, and monthly-stitches, and bouncing balls, and broken everythings, and tampons used as firearms... It must be quiet in my parent's house now that we're gone.

Good call on policy vs. doctrine. I probably need to re-thing some of the "doctrine" in our house.

Tori said...

I love the policy vs. doctrine idea. It reminds me of the whole "perfect is the enemy of good" thing.

To comment on the previous thread - my dog IS cute but it's still no excuse. I just sometimes figure that the only thing worse than him barking is me screaming at him to stop.