So my giant soldier day ended up being more of a soldier hour. Grand plans. That should be my nick name. It always sounds so good in my head. And then life happens.
Gavin took Garrett and Shelby to the park this afternoon, and Dalton and I went to run errands. We went to the lacrosse store, where he fell in love with new helmets, and sticks and fancy heads with brightly colored strings (is this what Gavin feels like when he walks in to a home decor store?). I nodded and acted super jazzed about all of it. He spent his $35 on a new defense stick. I told him that I would buy the $50 head for it and he could pay me back.
I am trying to get him jazzed about reading. He has fallen in to a bit of a rut, and so I've started doing what every desperate parent does when they run out of ideas...bribe! I told him $20 a book. I am talking Harry Potterish books here, not comic books. We had let him read on his own this year, and it was a big mistake. It's the result of being out numbered in terms of parents verses kids. One parent to read to the grumpy toddler, and another to read to the inquisitive five year old, and no one left to over see the reading of the ten year old. And so he read on his own...and his reading skills have not improved the way that they should over the year.
That, and he is bored with the books we are choosing. If there were eight hundred Diary of A Wimpy Kid books, we'd be set. But unless kids are telling fart jokes or eating their boogers in books, I guess to Dalton it's not that entertaining. He has liked Percy Jackson...and Fablehaven...and Harry Potter. But it's always on about book 3 that his eyes start to glaze over...like how many dang wizard slash troll plots can their be already?! I get that...I kind of feel the same way. Not Gavin. He could read Lord of The Rings book two hundred if he had his dream.
So, I tell him that he can get this head, but he is going to have to do some serious reading to earn it. And after each chapter he has to write notes down so at the end of the book he can give me a short oral report on what happened in the book. The old hippy that runs the lacrosse store looked at me like I was a dictator. "She's tough!" he says to Dalton. Thankfully he could not see me rolling my eyes inside my head.
I also told him thirty minutes of guitar a day...with no complaining. It's the full body whine that nearly undoes me. Remember Elaine from Seinfeld? When she would get bent out of shape about something, and do this spastic thing with her whole body? That is Dalton. It starts with throwing the head back so it looks like his head might detach from his neck. He has a super pained look on his face, like he is about to pass a kidney stone. He kind of goes in to a spastic movement like one of those people who have "felt the spirit" on the Born Again Christian Revival shows. And then continues to convulse all the way to his room as he sputters in tongues about not wanting to do what ever it is that he has been asked to do. I dread it. So the deal was, not only does he read, he retains, and he does it with a good attitude. A tall order...but a mother can dream.
So after the lacrosse store we head to the mall, which is clear the crud out in BFE while the church builds a better, newer one for everyone to worship in. I was out of my zit cream, so it was a trip to the Proactive counter. Sadly, I can not find either of my two expired licenses that I have been carrying around for the past year, so I almost could not buy my stuff. Great...I get to look forward to an overdue trip to the DMV. Can not wait. Maybe I'll hit the dentist and the OB on the way, just to make it the perfect day.
Dalton was still on a high over his lacrosse stick, and asked to go check out the Vans store while I was talking to the girl about the difference between suntan and sunlight concealer moisturizer. I said yes. He had his phone. It was just across the way. And I was wanting to show that I trusted him. He checked out all the cool styles. Saw all the teenagers hanging out. Then we went to get some Mrs. Field's cookies. I can not go to the mall without getting them. It's my crack. I feel the same about Chick Filet, but I withstood because I knew that Gavin was at home grilling steaks.
We checked out a few other stores. I almost bought some Toms, but didn't. After dinner I had the kids come in to my room where I tried to find some stuff on soldiers to have them read or watch on the internet to have some type of learning experience about Memorial Day. I wanted them to know that this holiday isn't just about having school off and getting to play with friends. I wasn't finding what I wanted. We listened to President Obama's words at the Mall that had been recorded. They were pretty good. A little slow for the kids.
youTube. Some were pretty sappy, but there were some where I was really moved. It showed a bunch of heart breaking scenes with soldiers showing their more vulnerable sides that we don't get to see, with words of admonition for those of us who don't fully appreciate what they are doing.
Then I clicked on one that said "US Solider Cries!" It was basically some one from the other side posting this super raw footage from a fire fight where some army men were pinned down in a house and were being fired upon from outside. The man that is recording it is praying his guts out, begging God to spare their lives. With each new round of fire, you hear the men's terrified reactions. It was pretty shocking. One of the men was crying...almost howling with fright. I don't blame him. It was as helpless and near death as you could be. Dalton couldn't handle it. The documentaries, the video games...any violence he has seen has had some type of filter to it. Some type of editing that removes the viewer and makes you detach yourself from it. But not this. We all felt like we were pinned down with these soldiers and wanted to cry out of terror like they were. He had to leave. Shelby was shaken too.
After I scarred them (Gavin got on my case after but I did try to point out that THAT is what battle really looks like for our sheltered kids) I asked them what they felt about it. Dalton said that he was sad for them. Shelby said that she could never do that. I told them that I wanted them to write a letter to the troops at the VA and I was going to drop it off tomorrow. Their letters were pretty touching. Shelby's said that she thought that they were brave. I don't know how this is going to work, but my plan is to deliver it tomorrow with some items that the VA is asking for for their homeless vets (can you believe there even is such a thing? So immoral.)
Again, I had bigger plans...but the day just gets away from you. Or maybe it's called Garrett.