a lesson learned from two tall guys (itty bitty thoughts)
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My husband is tall so I always knew our two sons would be tall. They both broke the six foot mark quite awhile ago, which makes me the shortest person in the house, by far.
Yesterday I got to hang with my two tall sons while we buzzed around and ran some errands and did some visiting. There was a lot of laughing—and also a lesson they’d taught me by the time I crawled into bed.
Randomly, I told them the story of when I was little and thought I’d start my own Mountain Dew Crew—a bike trick group, for those of you who clearly didn’t grow up in the 90s. I made paper, handwritten tickets to a show I was going to hold in my driveway. Seats for the show (lawn chairs, probably) cost a quarter a piece.
Bet they didn’t know I was that cool.
Oldest: How many tickets did you sell?
Me: I almost sold a ticket to my occasional babysitter, but she said she didn’t have her purse that day and she’d “get me next time”.
We drove by a big yellow house and I informed them I’d been in that house once and there was an angry ghost in it. My two tall guys don’t believe in ghosts, but I do.
Me: Why do I only ever feel the angry ghosts?
Youngest: Because you’re superstitious.
Oldest: And psychotic.
Youngest: We’re going to have to put you in a home someday.
I found a pair of shoes I liked at a thrift store, which was kind of a big deal because I hate shoes.
Oldest: You should buy them.
Me: I can buy, like, 100 pounds of hog food for what those shoes cost.
At the thrift store, my oldest found some black polos for work. My youngest scarfed up some vinyls (Motley Crue, Motorhead).
Youngest: They also had Conway Twitty. But I didn’t want to totally annoy you.
Me: You are such a good boy.
We continued on our adventure to my grandma’s house. She is spunky and feisty as the day is long.
There were donuts and coffee and lots of laughing—because my grandma is spunky and feisty as the day is long.
Me: See, boys? Feistiness is genetic. Now you see where I get it.
On the way home from grandma’s, we hit rush hour and there was traffic. So much traffic.
Me: Why do people drive in this every single day?
Oldest: Didn’t you used to drive in this every single day?
As we sat in traffic, the oldest asked me about a fiction book I wrote last year and haven’t got around to publishing yet. As we inched forward in the car, he encouraged me to finish that book and get it out. And for every excuse I gave that kid, he fired back with a reason it was an excuse.
And for a minute there, I felt like I was the kid and he was the parent.
And I know that he was saying stop being so damn logical and needing to have a reason to write what you want.
If you want to write, then write.
Wanting to write is the reason.
Then when we got home, the tall guys disappeared into the basement for an impromptu jam session. (I figure we’ve got a really good set up here. I feed them and they provide me music.)
That night when I crawled in to bed I got to thinking (as I often do). And I thought on how, regardless of what they do with music in the future, they play because it makes them happy. They play because it’s who they are. And they would continue to play if no one outside their bedroom or the basement ever heard them, because music is part of their soul.
If they want to play, they play.
Wanting to play is the reason to play.
There’s a lesson in that, Mom.
— Amy Dingmann, 10-3-20