Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Five: Five Great Things About Today

Things get better, right? They always do.

They always do.

Here are five great things that happened today.

1. There was a "Bun" candy bar just sitting there in the cupboard after lunch. AND lunch was leftover burritos. AND I got to eat lunch with Sweetie because it was my day off, mostly (I worked for about 1 1/2 hours this morning but it was BY CHOICE).  Have you ever eaten a "BUN"? They are phenomenal. I tend to forget about them when it comes to candy. They're not even in the candy aisle.  At our grocery store, the BUN are on a weird shelf in between the candy and baby aisles, sort of by the produce.  You have to sort of plan on getting some apples but then at the last minute change your mind and think maybe you need paper towels instead, and then you'll pass by them.

2.  I finally beat that one level on Plants v. Zombies 2.  It's the one in the Old West where you only get 1500 suns and there are chickens and hopping miners or whatever. This probably makes no sense to you if you don't play the game but if you do you know exactly what I'm talking about.

3.  Someone added "CODES" on Goodreads. I'm up to FIVE people. TAKE THAT JK ROWLING.  It's a real groundswell.

4. I found my swimming trunks. Which had been missing for a week or two. I couldn't find them and couldn't find them and I asked Sweetie and she asked if I'd looked in my closet, and I said OF COURSE I had and pointed out that her asking me that was kind of like the time I called Dell to say that Mr Bunches' tablet wasn't working and the guy asked me if I'd plugged it in. Then later I checked in the closet and they were there, so I had to say I was sorry to Sweetie, but if I put my mind to it I can probably figure out some way to blame her for it.

5. Mr F and The Big Waterslide.  Today was the day of our annual trip to the Goodman pool, our end-of-summer big day with the boys; the pool is really big and has two large waterslides at it, so it's about the closest we can get them to a real waterpark.  I like to go to the Goodman pool, and I like it so much that I will only go once a year.  To go more often would be I think to rob it of the special quality that comes from only going one time per year, to celebrate having made it through another summer.

(Summers have the peculiar quality of being my favorite time of year and our worst time of year.  I have always loved summer.  I love it with a wistfulness that imbues just the very thought of summer with sepia tones.  In the winter I look at my pictures from the summer for hours, sometimes, thinking back to wading in the river with the boys, or walking on the nature trail, to hot nights outside with Mr F on his Big Wheel, just lazily sort of cruising in the street while a hummingbird pecks at the flowers down the way, to hose fights and walking to the health club pool and jumping off the pier at the Memorial Union and just to being able to walk outside without first putting on a layer of clothes and boots and coats and scarves and hats and even then you're freezing within seconds.

But summers have always been accompanied by the worst news.  If there is bad news to be had in my life, it will hit between June 1 and August 31, nearly always. 90% of the bad times in my life have come during the summer.  Summer is the bad girlfriend I can't break up with even though she's terrible for me.)

Today, after wading around with Mr F for a while, he wanted to go on the water slide.  He pulled me up to it, up the three flights of stairs to the top.  Not all at once: we walked up a flight, and then down. Then up, then down.  Then the next one. And so on. It took 20 minutes to get to the top, three flights up.  We leaned against the rail and watched the sliders go down.  There are two slides, the green one and the white one. The green one is open on the top, and you can see people sliding down in it.  The white one is a tube, closed all around.

I lined Mr F up for the white one; we have to be careful with him.  He is as likely to stop himself on the waterslide and try to climb out as he is to go all the way down, I figured, because I've seen him try to do that on regular slides that aren't 30 feet off the ground.

When we got to his turn for the slide, he wouldn't get into the little launching area, a sort of pad before the tube.  He put his foot on it, then pulled back and grabbed my hand.

I said "It's okay. You don't need to go." And we let a little girl go ahead of us, as the people behind watched the boy wearing a wetsuit gingerly stick his toe in the water while the girl slid gleefully into the dark opening.

We tried again.  This time he stood there, then bailed.  We let another kid go.  Then Mr F tried a third time.  He sat this time! Then stood back up immediately.

That was how it went for 20 minutes.  TWENTY. Standing there in the hot sun, people crowding up, watching as Mr F would sit in the slide launching area, then stick his feet out, then back out again.  We'd let a couple people go, then he'd try again.  Finally the lifeguard (who was being very nice) said the line was backing up too much.  Mr F tried a final time, sitting and getting himself almost all the way into the slide, before standing back up.

"It's okay, buddy. We tried," I said, and started leading him down the stairs. One flight down, he balked and turned around.  He marched back up and I had to stop him, stand him at the back of the line.  So we waited again, and got to the top, and he sat down, pushed forward inch by inch by inch and was nearly into the opening ... when he stood up.

I patted him on the head.  We let a couple kids go and did it again.  Then we moved to the back of the line again.

For the next hour, Sweetie waited at the bottom of the slide.  Mr Bunches kept coming up and riding down the two slides, alternating.  Mr F and I, we would wait in line, get to the top, have him sit down, and then wait... wait...wait, as he inched slowly forward, getting closer and closer each time to sliding until each time he backed out.

Mr F is nervous about slides.  He usually likes to climb up them first before sliding down them, almost as if he is inspecting them for safety.  But he couldn't do that here.  So back to the end of the line we went, and waited again.

People were starting to know him.  Little kids were coming up to us and asking if he was okay, whether he was going to go on the slide.  "He's trying," I said.  "He just gets nervous." Little girls told him "It's okay! I go on it all the time, it's fun."  One girl told him not to be scared.  The lifeguard said, each time, you can do it buddy!  People would watch as he sat, stood, sat, stood, sat again... and stood.

Each time, I hugged him and patted his head and said I was proud and it didn't matter if he went down.  We'd go to the back of the line and start over, almost completely dry by now.  Mr F watched the opening to the slide from wherever he was on the slide.

After nearly 90 minutes, we got to the top again.  Mr F sat down, again.  He edged forward.

"You can do it, buddy," I said.

"Go on, guy," a little girl said.

"You can do it," the lifeguard said.

Mr F edged forward a bit.

A bit more.

A bit more.

He looked back over his shoulder at me.

I had my hand right by him.  I said "You can go, if you want."

He edged forward the tiniest bit more.

I mean it would be just SO GREAT if I could tell you he went down the slide and loved it and was happy and had the greatest day.

But he didn't.

He stood up again, and grabbed my hand, and pulled back from the slide.  And it was time to go. We had to leave the pool and that was it for the day.  I took Mr F's hand and said:

"I'm proud of you, buddy.  You were really brave."

Sometimes, winning is just trying. Mr F kept on trying, If we hadn't made him leave, I think he'd still be there, hoping that this time would be the one that worked, and if it wasn't, getting in line and doing it again.

He keeps trying.  I know an 8-year-old boy who is my SON shouldn't probably be my hero but he is.

He always keeps trying.

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