For his birthday, one of Elliott’s classmates got him a set of porcelain banks. One is Buck, who is fed dollar bills, and the other is Penny, who munches on change. The problem is, the two monster banks came to Elliott just as white as white can be. To make them decorated and scary, they came with a kit full of paint and frightening add-ons to dress them up to the desired level of intimidation. A child’s dream. A parent’s nightmare. The project posed the threat of a mess the size of which only a three year old can make.
It is the kind of mess parents dread and would do anything to delay, providing for the outside chance that the whole project might get lost in the sea of whims that consume a toddler’s mind. “Let’s put this away for a rainy day,” Katie told Elliott when he brought the gift home anxious to dive into it. He would lock those words away, just as literally as they could possibly be stored.
For the last week, it seemed thoughts of the project had escaped all of our memories. Until Friday. I was giving Elliott his traditional weekend schedule of events. “It’s going to be nice Saturday, so we’ll probably spend a lot of time outside. On Sunday, it’s supposed to rain all day so we’ll be stuck inside,” I told him in the briefing.
The word rain had barely dropped off my lips when Elliott’s eyes lit up like a man stranded in a desert who hears the approaching sound of a thunderstorm. “It’s going to rain,” he asked, begging to hear the words again.
“Yes, why?” I asked, having completely forgotten about the banks.
“Because we’ll be stuck inside with nothing to do and I can get the monsters out.”
I suddenly remembered the rainy day promise.
It did rain Sunday. Elliott did get the monsters out. And the next time Katie tells Elliott we’re putting something up until a rainy day, we’re relocating to Death Valley.
Of course, our real monster rarely waits for a rainy day to emerge. The Ian monster, as Elliott calls him. I can’t help but agree with him most days. I try hard to remember the day when Elliott was into as many things as Ian. I can’t, because I don’t think he was.
Similarities in the two continue to emerge. We were outside playing this weekend and it was time to come in. Ian threw himself on the ground, kicking and screaming, refusing to come inside. I believe it was as defiant a protest as a one year old can drum up. I remember Elliott being the same way. Well, he still is, he hates to come inside. But with him, you tell him we’re going to go inside and eat M&Ms and drink juice and the outside world disappears. But still, hey both love the outdoors.
We were watching the football game yesterday. Brett Favre threw one of his four touchdowns and I yelled touchdown. Ian promptly yelled “touchdown.” It was one of the clearest words he has said with purpose yet. He says "da da" – but he says it to everything and everyone. He says "ma ma" on occasion. But touchdown, that was his first official word. It was also Elliott’s first official word. Which makes it official – we are raising two future NFL stars. I can quit worrying about retirement and start worrying about getting them a good agent. Of course, it would be more encouraging if Elliott had gained a single pound in the last 18 months. A kicker maybe?
It is fun to play around with the course of their futures. But I was reminded this week watching the devastation in Haiti, in such a sad way, that no future is guaranteed. I was also reminded just how foolish we are in this blessed country to consider ourselves in crisis. Challenging times, maybe. A crisis, no. Not even close.
I’ve heard and read many self-proclaimed pastors and radio show hosts and countless others just sharing opinions this week interpret God’s message to the Haitians in the earthquake. Now, I’ve always found it a bit arrogant for people to interpret God’s motives. But in this case, I found it to be far more arrogant to think the message, if there was one, was intended for the Haitian people at all.
Our family will continue to pray that God will tend to the recovery of this struggling country, and pray that we as blessed people can be a tool.