Thursday, September 27, 2012

Emet and Mama's First Date

Ah, the things we learn about people when we take the time to study them, removing them from their ordinary position within the daily grind, and setting them free to be their own, best self in the setting of their choice.

For the past week, Emet has repeatedly asked "How many days is it again until our date night, Mama?"  Since his big brother's date to the trampoline park, that has been Emet's goal, but when the time came and Mama's knee was not in any shape to be jumping on a trampoline, Emet decided he still wanted me to be his special date and selected a place where I could play along side him.  (God bless that little boy of mine!) The decision was to Chuck E Cheese's we went.

"C'mon Mama!  Let's leave for our special date!" he kept saying as I tried to tie up the loose ends of the dinner I had begun for the family.  Papa took our picture in the yard, and the minute we hopped in the car, his sweet, but knowing voice, said, "Oh wait!  Where are Caleb, Anna Ruth, and Gracie?  Oh, yeah!  They're not coming on our special date!"  And truly, I believe this night away from his siblings is just what he needed to make his little spirit soar. 

Emet was quiet the whole drive down, but the minute we pulled up to the parking spot right in front of the door that seemed especially for us, he could hardly wait to get out of the car.  He raced to the door, and just before he pulled it open, he looked back at me and sweetly said, "Thank you for taking me here, Mama."  Can a Mother's heart melt?

We ordered our food and sat down, Emet proudly carrying his new "upgraded" kids cup - a plastic cup with a big Chuck-E-Cheese head, which apparently comes with free refills forever.  Perhaps this will prove to be a good investment for our grandchildren....a family heirloom of sorts.  He asked me to sit right next to him. So there we sat, he anxiously awaiting his very own personal sized cheese pizza and happily sipping one of six glasses of soda, and me contentedly munching away on baby corn from the salad bar.  Ah.....bliss.  :-)

Once we finished our meal, Emet asked if I would watch while he climbed around in the overhead play structure.  I did, and then we headed over to purchase our tokens.  As the coupon we brought wasn't valid at that particular location, (figures), I was pleased to find such a nice employee who found one for me.

Fifteen dollars exchanged for ninety tarnished gold tokens, and we were on our way to fun.  We wandered around playing this game and that, but much to his Mama's delight, Emet seems to be as interested in the Skee Ball game as his Mama.  He would say things such as, "OK, Mama.  OK.  Just one more time on this game, then we're moving on!  OK?!"  Repeat several times.  Move on.  Come back. Repeat.

Some games were genuinely shooting hoops, or aiming to shoot water at blinking objects for points.....or holding on to the monkey's vibrating hand grips until you can't stand it any longer, or, I would argue, Skee Ball.  Other games, such as the treasure wheel, largely resembled casino gambling and were dominated by adults spending countless tokens on them.  (OK - I can see how Skee Ball might fit into this category as well, seeing how Emet and I could not seem to step away.)

Emet was a true delight, and what an encourager he was!  "Oh, good job, Mama!  You're doing an awesome job getting points!"  When I would say, "Well, this game isn't as good as my last one" he'd return, "No!  Just look at all of those tickets you've gotten!  You're doing awesome, Mama!" Or, when we went back for one of the many soda refills (Root Beer, Root Beer, Diet Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Orange Soda, Diet Pepsi) , he said "Thanks again for bringing me here, Mama" in his sweet, quiet voice.

At the end of our time, we fed the tickets one by one to the ticket muncher....all 251 of them, then headed over to the store to carefully select our treasures.  In the end, Emet picked out a blue rocket for himself and an orange one for Caleb, sweet tarts for all, and a twizzler.  Yep - that was the end of fifteen dollars of tokens and 1.5 hours of ticket earnings.  Emet seemed pleased enough with his new found treasure, however.  He was quiet in the car for a bit, then said a little sadly...."I was going to pick out a rocket for Sissy too, but....I didn't."  I assured him that I would be willing to pitch in a dollar or two for a treat for Sissy at our next stop, Fred Meyer, where we were headed to purchase a Hot Wheel - his choice.  He ended up with a metalic green car, and Sissy with a baby bottle with disappearing banana juice.

Coming home far past bedtime, we snuck upstairs to brush teeth, change, and get ready for stories and snuggle.  I read him I'll Love You Forever, and I Love You the Purple-est, then snuggled him close and traced on his back.  Finally, after prayers were said and I tucked him in, I saw him hopping out of his bed to grab his Hot Wheel.  "Good night, Mama.  I love you," he said.  "I love you too, Sweet Bug.  God bless you, Dear Bug."

I was reminded tonight that my second born son Emet is an individual with a rare and beautiful spirit, and I had a chance to see the true character and humanity of my son.

I could plainly see that he, even as a child, has temptations that pull at him and lure him aside.  Though he wanted to move on from that Skee Ball game, it kept drawing him back, time and again.  Life has such lures as well, and it is my job to help train him up to be strong in his convictions and in the building of his that his ability to avoid such traps is based on a habit of strong morals and character, just like his Papa.

I also was able to see how Emet is very appreciative, helpful, and wanting to encourage. He comes along side and doesn't insist on his way, but is willing to compromise and support in others decisions.  He offers assistance, but doesn't insist if he is turned down.  He is always looking to help and do his best, even if in his almost five year old state, he can be clumsy and slow.  He is trying his very best....all of the time.

It's hard to see each others' unique and special traits sometimes as we all struggle to find our way in the midst of a family dynamic....positioning among the siblings, defending your ground.  Date nights go a long way in providing refreshment, reminders, and insight into an individual...for Jason and I or our kids.  What a gift I received tonight.  All I had to do was show up!

I love you the blue-est, Emet.  I love you the blue-est.....just like you want me to. 

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