Caleb as the wax version of Cesar Chavez. My own little leader for social change. His earnestness was my undoing.
Last night Ethan asked, "Mom, why don't we believe in grapes?" And then he chanted "Grapes are bad, grapes are bad, down with grapes" all the way out of the school. Cesar lent him his protest sign and he took up the cause. With vigor.
I love a good political protest.
And you can rest easy knowing Ethan has been properly brainwashed.
But this morning I found him sneaking grapes into his pockets. When I discovered his treachery, he said, tragically, "Don't tell Caleb, but I like grapes." I told him his secret was safe with me.
There is very little difference between make-believe and reality at our house.
Take my budget, for example.
Or my to-do list.
Or my judgement of how long something will take. Now there's a fantasy.
I had a meeting this morning with Ethan's Pre-K teachers. They said he's ready for first grade. He's passed off all the skills of kindergarten before kindergarten has even started. They wanted to know where to put him next year.
Now I'm a big believer in being the oldest in your class. In starting late and finishing first. Or something like that. I waited an extra year with every one of my other kids. But just for a moment I hesitated. Because the teacher said, "The decision is yours. You can decide what is best for Ethan."
How did I get put in charge of that?
I can't even decide what color to wear to a Spring Tea. (Though I've ruled out black. For the most part.)
But this is his whole life we're talking about.
And I'm afraid I will do what's best for me instead. Accidentally.
The same reason I'm afraid of heights. I might just jump. Accidentally forget I can't fly.
And that's the feeling I have when I look at my five-year-old raising awareness (and eyebrows) about the unknown evils of grapes. I look down and see his whole life yawning before me and my stomach drops, because I realize with one false move I could accidentally bump him and he will be hurtling through space without a net or a parachute or a soft landing. (Don't look down.)
I swallow my tears and my fears and a bit of my breakfast again.
I need to pray about it I say.
His teachers smile. They think I'm joking.
But clearly I am not. Because even though I like to pretend I know what I'm doing, that's really just a fantasy. I am a wax museum mother.
And maybe I will ask about dress color while I'm there.
Heaven knows it couldn't hurt.