WOOHOO! It finally happened! Just when I doubted that my lengthy (but extra fun and engaging) lectures were making a difference, my 12-year-old said this to his 10-year-old sister yesterday:
“You don’t need to play Wii, Aden. It’s a beautiful day. Let’s go ride bikes.”
LET’S GO RIDE BIKES, Ian said.
I just don’t understand why people doubt that miracles still happen. I mean, who needs Grilled Cheesus to point the way to God when there’s a 12-year-old boy child in America who will choose bike riding over video games?
I knew that if I just nagged long enough about letting the screens go… and if I forced my children outside repeatedly even when they protested that they were “cold” or “bored” or “you’re the worst mom EVER”… that eventually they would learn that what they thought of as “misery” was actually “refreshing” and “delightful” and “we have the BEST mom who teaches us awesome lessons about healthy living and we’re so lucky that she’s right all the time.”
I should also tell you, just so you understand how truly remarkable Ian’s statement was, that it was freezing outside yesterday. Gray clouds snowed big, globby, gorgeous snowflakes all morning before the rain got jealous of the snow’s adoring audience, drank WAY too much, took off all of his clothes and streaked across the stage. And then, when the rain finally dried up and stopped making a fool of himself (and, by “stopped,” I mean “continued to heckle snow from off-stage while the sun tried to man-handle rain out the back door saying, ‘That’s not cool, man. That’s just not cool.'”), there stood my son, parroting the wise words of his mother and suggesting outside play to his sister.
I was SO PROUD. Just when I least expected it, my Momming: It Pays Off moment arrived.
I was practically glowing with my sense of profound mama rightness.
I pulled out my magic marker and I was writing it all down in the Win Column when I heard Aden say, “No, Ian. I am not going to ride bikes with you. You only want me to do that because you’re grounded from screens all week.”
And that’s when I remembered that Ian is grounded from screens all a week because he kicked a gigantic hole in his bedroom wall. And, well, it turns out that kicking a gigantic hole in the wall – even if you’re really, really, really mad that your parents are making you unload the whole dishwasher all by yourself – isn’t actually allowed at our house.
My helium leaked, and I deflated a teensy tiny bit. Could it be that my preteen was merely wishing to ride bikes because he had no electronic options? Could it be that my epic and powerful lecturing isn’t paying off? Say it isn’t so!
Which is when Ian said, “Nuh uh, Aden. That is not true. It’s not because I’m grounded that I want to ride bikes…”
Oh! I thought, my spirits lifted, He’s gonna pull this out for a win! I can feel it. It’s gonna be a three-pointer at the end-game buzzer. And I clung tightly to my magic marker, eyes on the Mama Score Card, still hoping for a win.
“…I want to ride bikes so I don’t have to unload the dishwasher again. Shhhhh! Don’t tell Mom.”
You guys, Aden had a choice to make. To play the Wii, which she adores, and throw her brother under the bus by tattling to me about his dishwasher deception, or to stand in solidarity against her mother’s silly chores list and the expectation that kid-jobs be done in a timely manner with a stunning lack of wall holes.
Aden said nothing as she silently put away her Wii controller and went outside with her brother to ride bikes.
You guys, Aden chose her brother.
And I raised my pen and magic-marked that up in the Win Column because, truth is, I learned far more about life and love and the pursuit of family happiness from choosing solidarity with my brother than I ever learned while standing at a dishwasher.
Shhhhh! Don’t tell my mom. (Even though she might already know. 😉 )
And especially don’t tell my kids.