Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Flying Monkey of Doom

Last Wednesday was Joseph's first Pinewood Derby. He was so very excited. He designed his car. Kermit cut it for him. Joe painted it red with a blue monkey face. He named his car The Flying Monkey of Doom. We had a flying monkey in our house once.

Daniel and Kermit were at the front door on their way out. Suddenly, Daniel collapses to the floor, clutches his head and screams like a banshee. Neither Kermit nor I could figure out what caused this distress. And then Kermit saw an orange plastic monkey toy on the floor not too far from Daniel. Looking up he saw Joe on the other side of the room with a triumphant smile and a particular gleam in his eye. It didn't take too long to figure out that Joe had taken his brother out with a flying monkey, or as Daniel dubbed it "The Flying Monkey of Doom".

Little Joe was very excited about the derby. He was excited about his car. He was disappointed to find that his was not the fastest car. He wanted to win. The fastest cars were all a flat design. Joe has decided that next year he wants a flat car. He wants to win. I'm a little disappointed in this. Those other cars may have been fast, but they were boring. I liked that his car was inspired by a lightning bolt and an orange monkey. I like the derby cars that are not slick. I like the ones with character. My fear is that the need for speed will be more important than style. Oh well, there is always paint.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bunny Killer

Every year when I was young, the Easter Bunny left a nest outside. It was full of candy and little toys. It was made of that plastic Easter grass that never seems to go away. I had just enough imagination as a child to believe that a rabbit could come bearing treats. Still, the bunny faded long before Santa Claus and definitely before I stopped getting those baskets. My gramma tells me about our last baskets. That particular year my favorite cousin was visiting. She, my sister and I woke up to find that there were no baskets. The adults were all still in bed. We didn't have any illusions about who was in charge. We stood outside my grandparents' room and declared loud enough for them to hear, "That Easter Bunny had better wake up and leave our candy!"

I thought that I would regain my enthusiasm for the holiday after I had kids. It just didn't happen. If it hadn't been for my gramma's enthusiasm, I'm not sure that I would have ever thought to make up baskets for my kids. Egg hunts are fun. I still like those. Getting chocolate bunnies on sale the Monday after, that's fun, too. But this whole furry rodent thing is just not as fun. The stories of Jesus, now there is something to get excited about. The power of the atonement and the reality of His resurrection are much more significant than the glitz of the marketers. A rabbit that pops out chocolate eggs just pales in comparison.

Even though I'm not so excited about the glitz and glamour part of this weekend, I should have not assumed that my children didn't want it. They did get baskets this year. My mom brought them when she visited two weeks ago. They also participated in the Easter egg hunt at church. That was enough for me. That seemed to be enough for most of them. My eight-year-old was not quite satisfied. I awoke Sunday morning to find him sleeping on my feet. He had already been up looking. He told me with a slight quiver in his voice that the Easter Bunny did not come. I reminded him of all that he had already received. He still wanted to that early morning nest of goodies. This required me to think before I was totally awake.

There just happens to reside in our home a dog that loves rabbit, usually with their heads torn off and chewed. That was good enough for my sleep-deprived brain. I suppose if I had been more lucid I could have come up with a more humane explanation. But, seriously, this is the boy who cheered when his dad was butchering chickens. ("Yea! Do it again, Dad! I can catch another chicken for you.")

At some point that rabbit is going to have to die. All these imaginary creatures fade in time. What I should have realized, what I would have realized if I had been paying attention, is that the candy and toys are not the important thing. It is that bit of magic at finding something where it shouldn't be. It is the joy of discovering something just for you. Perhaps, if it is not too late, I can try again next year. Well, just as long as the dog stays indoors all night.