At church, Teresa gives me our squirming baby Percy, and with a look of exasperation, asks me to take him into the foyer. I do so, where I set Percy down onto the floor and place a little toy not too far in front of him (toy sounds better than the mechanical pencil I found on the couch). Percy’s still learning to crawl, and he hasn’t yet learned to use his legs. He usually just pulls against the floor, and when the going gets tough, throws up his limbs like a beached whale and cries. He’s in this process of accepting defeat when another parent places a baby on the floor. This baby also sets her eyes on the toy, and being an expert crawler, rapidly makes her way toward the loot.
Percy sees this threat with alarm, and loathing the thought of another claiming his object of desire, finds a second wind. He squirms, rocks, and tugs, but his arms just don’t have the tork he needs. His enemy is drawing nearer. Then, as his desperate little brain reels for a solution, the key finally hits him. For the first time in his life, he raises his baby bum as his knees slip into gear. He finds traction. He pushes from behind. His body propels forward. In awe of his newly-discovered power, he repeats the process. Again and again. Just as the imposter is about to claim the prize, Percy lunges forward and snatches his rightful property. As the would-be usurper is snatched away, Percy rejoices in his spoils. This day he’s become a man.
After church, my six-year-old Ariah wants to play a game with me. I regretfully inform her that I have to study my home teaching lesson. A few minutes later, I’m out the door and climbing into the car. As I pull the car into reverse, Ariah shoots out the front door and cries, “Daddy, daddy, where are you going?” Didn’t I just tell her? Thinking this is a silly game, I continue to pull out of the driveway. Then I hear her screaming my name and crying, so I stop the car an roll down the window. “I’m going home teaching,” I say with confusion.
“Oh,” she says, wiping away a tear.
“Where did you think I was going?”
“Off to war.”
Before church, for no reason that I know of, my three-year-old Aspen surprises me by placing a fez on my head and announcing, “I dub you the king of Uranus.”