Monday, September 19 2022

football, a dream, and a bad church visit

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Monday. How are you feeling today?

We sent Rodney off to the bus stop almost an hour ago. Marissa and I quietly chuckled, watching his skinny white legs shuffle across our cul-de-sac. In all things, Rodney likes to choose his own path, and you can tell because he chooses a different walking path to the bus stop every day. Sometimes he walks on the outside along the grass. Sometimes he walks in a zig-zag. It can be a curl route, a go route, or a deep slant.

Sip. Sorry, I've got football on the mind. I set aside most of Sunday to watch football. I was in my laziest form, sporting boxers and an old t-shirt under a blanket on the couch armed with a tv remote and a tall glass of ice water, and I would remain there most of the day. We ordered a pizza, and we stayed up late watching the Bears-Packers game. Then Marissa and I stayed up even later - probably as a form of therapy for another tough Packers loss.

I didn't wake up early to write about football, so I'll leave yesterday's game with one final observation. It's amazing how you can replace the manager, coach, staff, and nearly all the players of a team and they can still play the Packers with the exact same result. Think about it - it's a completely different group of people and players riding the team bus into Lambeau field, but somehow they do exactly the same thing as last year. And there I'll conclude the football portion of this entry.

What else did we get up to this weekend? For starters, we ran the final gauntlet of living room floor installation. While Marissa and Ziggy ran at an agility trial and Rodney attended school, Miles and I endured one last day displaced from our living room. Here's a little sample of how the day went.

At the end of the video, I ask Miles to make his funny face. I knew he'd decline. His funny face is a rarity that only comes out when he's in the best of moods.

I don't want to compare my children's behavior, but right now Miles is the bad one. He's officially surpassed Rodney in two year old stubbornness. Back in the day, Rodney could throw a fit, but Miles has woven these into an art form. He throws things on the ground. He hits his head on the floor. Under my care this weekend, he pried off the lid of his sippie cup and let the juice run into his bed.

I had a dream last night. I was back in a high school classroom, and from the dark curtains and wall of old books, I recognized my philosophy teacher Mr. Baldwin's room. But instead of Mr. Baldwin, an old woman was sitting in his arm chair in the front of the room. "How do you discipline a child?" I asked in a squeaky high school voice.

Maybe I'm feeling inspired by the TV psychology in The Sopranos, but from the dream it's clear to me I'm thinking about discipline. The high school classroom, the teacher, and the question made it feel like I was negotiating with my tradition - my instilled values. Not in bad faith either, but from a sincere place. It was like I was pleading for a higher authority to help me resolve something. The dream ended before the old woman in the chair could respond.

In hopes of shaking Miles out of his morning grumpiness, I took him to the park.


Miles worked his magic on me. He looked so innocent tottling around the playground that I began to wonder if I was the difficult one in this relationship.


In other news, we tried another church this weekend. We parked on a quiet neighborhood street in Itasca. We quietly ushered Rodney and Miles through the set of double doors. We grabbed a seat in the back pew of the sanctuary which, to our horror and embarrassment, only held about ten people in attendance. All ten of them turned around and stared us down while we got settled.

"Don't make any noise now," said an awkward, nicely dressed man in front of us to Rodney. A few minutes later, he walked to the end of the pew and grabbed a bag of crayons and a coloring book, gruffly tossing them to Miles. Marissa grabbed one of the crayons and scribbled a discrete message on her program - the words LET'S GO?.

I nodded enthusiastically. We bagged up the crayons rolling around on the ground and made a brief, noisy exit out the back of the chapel. Before we left, Rodney asked if he could take a piece of candy from the bowl by the door, and his voice echoed in the foyer. Not a great church visit, but the nice thing about church hopping is that you reserve the right to peel out of the parking lot and never return if it goes really poorly.

Wearing our church clothes, we went straight to Home Depot to buy some plywood. Marissa ticked a chore off the list, and the boys got to get some of their wiggles out in a big empty hardware store - not a bad Sunday.


That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great Monday.