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World Clocks

Friday, November 5, 2010

Running Like the Wind... into the trees, and wherever it blows...

One year ago I posted about Princess Moxie and her cross country race.  It was a half-mile, it only seemed like three miles because it was cold and raining.  Well, this year the sun shone warmly on the field as five elementary schools unloaded their third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

We read the wrong memo so we were first in line to register, arriving a full 90 minutes early.  As a family we are NEVER early, not even on time, so I was completely flummoxed about how to spend all this free time with no rushing around.  I tried to chit chat with the parents who joined us on line but they were the kind of parents who apparently were always early for everything so we had nothing in common.  Except the kids, of course:  The American Common Denominator.   And our nation's favorite "holiday" was quickly approaching.  I speak not of Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving, but of course, Halloween.

"So, what's Madison going to be for Halloween?"  I ask innocently.
"A gothic vampire," her mom says slyly.
"Oh, that's nice."  She's eyeing me now like I'm a jerk.  "I mean, that's cool.  I really like those gothic ones, you know, they're much better than the trampy sluty vampires," I reply. 

The race couldn't start fast enough.  I was more excited than the girls.  Unfortunately, Princess Sparky had to leave to go to gymnastics with her dad, but I was primed with my cell phone camera to take photos.

So, fourth grade girls line up.  There looks to be about 50 kids, all shapes, colors and sizes.  I see Princess Diva Darling right away.  She insisted on wearing a dress.  A bright red dress with a huge flower on the front.  She's got on striped pink leggings with those blasted "sketchers" that are more slippers than sneakers.  They have rhinestones and pink crystal heart charms hanging off them that catch the sun and nearly blind me.

She looks bored and is so far to the right that if she runs straight she will crash into the lacrosse net that's on the field.

I run up to her, "Don't run into the net, ok?"

Diva is fast but she's the kind of kid who falls down the stairs weekly and frequently runs into walls. She lopes, like a skittish deer.  

She rolls her eyes at me.  Great. Now she's bored and annoyed.   

There's music blaring from some speakers so I barely heard the start gun.  But I see Diva Darling is in front.  Way in front.  At least 10 yards in front.  20 yards in front.  30 yards in front.  I call her dad.  "She's doing great, she's waaaaay in front of everyone!" I exclaim.  She runs up a huge hill as if she's being pulled by God himself.  Now she's out of sight.  I run around trying to figure out where I can catch a glimpse of her.

The next time I see her she's trailing a short kid with long blond hair.

"What happened?" I asked Mr. L her gym teacher.

"She was way out in front and didn't know the course; she went about 20 paces in the wrong direction, and when I waved her back, she stopped, rolled her eyes, and then turned around.  She's doing great though!"

Diva comes in second.

As I yell her name the high school track coach glances over at me and remarks, "That kid is very fast.  Who is she, Pippi Longstocking?"

I tell the coach her name, but it's clear she doesn't realize yet that I am actually Mrs. Longstocking.

Next up are the fifth grade girls.  Princess Moxie insisted upon wearing her jacket while she runs.  Why not? After all, the kid next to her wearing running shorts and an athletic t-shirt looks nearly hypo-thermic.   Moxie has her hair in an up-do with a fringe of curls.  She wanted to run in this race because her teacher said she would earn a "paw" which is a bonus point and when she gets 25 paws she wins....lunch with her teacher! Some prize, huh?  I can't get my kids to do anything even though they get to eat dinner with me every single night.

The gun goes off and Moxie takes off.  She's in front.  Way in front.  It's deja vu Groundhog Day.  I call her dad.  "Moxie is waaaaay in front!!!" I shout.  "She's running up the hill like a gazelle on fire!!!"  I lose sight of her....a minute passes, and there she is, number three, number four, number five,  maybe sixth.  She's completely spent.  She runs through the funnel and collapses on the ground.

"Water, ma, I need water," she pleads and then bursts into tears.

This is worth a paw?

YES, by golly, it sure is!

They ran their big hearts out.  They coped with their own anxiety in their own ways, and they finished the race doing their very best.  What more could Mrs. Longstocking want?   I am so very proud of them!!!!

Before Breakfast

My idea of a good way to start my day:  meander downstairs to find the coffee maker timer worked and the coffee is made and already an hour hot; grab a happy mug and settle in the dining room to read, pray, and meditate.  An hour later, take a hot shower, dress, and find the youngsters already well on their way to getting ready.    The key to my good morning is QUIET.  SOLITUDE.  PEACE.  That said, I thought I'd jot down some of the questions my darlings asked of me this morning before I even had that first sip of hot nectar:

Question #1:  "Mom, how is money made?"  (Huh?  Like how is it printed or how does one earn it? Where's the coffee pot?)
 Question #2:  "How do they get this picture of the man on the dollar?" (Oh, it's a printing question.  Here's the coffee pot. Why was it in the refrigerator?)
Question #3:  "Is this an eight dollar bill?"  (Huh?  Oh, that number 8? I don't know why that's there. No, it's a one dollar bill surrounded by number eights.  Where's the milk?)
Question #4: "Did the money come from trees like my paper?) (No, it's actually cloth, that's why so many crooks can launder money.  that's just a joke. Please pass me the splenda.)
Question #5:  "Who makes cereal?  How do they get all the colors?" (Those are your sister's beads, don't eat them.  What do you mean there's no more splenda?)
Question #6:  "How does water get made?" (oh, just a little bit of hydrogen, a little less oxygen, and poof! Any equal? Sugar?)
Question #7:  "Who can make a window?  Can God make a window?" (of course, but His would be free but it wouldn't be cheap.  Oops, that's about grace not glass. Now where in the hell is my mug?)

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