I have these fantasies that I could take him out of school whenever I want and run away to another town for a day and play hookey. Being self-employed, this is one of those things you can do -- except now I'm supposed to set a good example and NOT let him be truant. Damn this whole teaching of responsibility thing!
We began reminiscing about how much fun we had at the water park. One of Julius's more memorable experiences was going down a slide he refers to as the "toilet bowl". Probably I don't even need to describe it based on that nickname. But for a child of six, going down a long tube and into a gigantic bowl in which you spin around and around and then drop into a very deep pool when you've never been in a pool that is deep enough to go over you head ... it's pretty intense.
He was a trooper, though. Out he came from the bottom of the toilet bowl and dropped into the pool and promptly sank like a stone. I sat there for a few seconds and waited for him to pop back up and he didn't. He's not a buoyant child. Finally he struggled to the top and started to sink again but the lifeguard at the opening of the bowl grabbed him and swam him over to the side.
Of all the things at the park that day, this is the one he remembers most and he's very proud of it.
"I went on the toilet bowl, Mom. Even TORI wouldn't go on it." (Tori is the 16-year-old daughter of our daycare lady.)
I nodded. "I'm really proud of you. That's a big slide!"
He leaned back on the couch and nodded slowly in agreement. "I faced my fears. I like facing my fears."
* * *
My mother is claustrophobic. On a recent trip to the doctor she was forced to ride the elevator eight flights up. We even tried the stairs, but they were very narrow with no windows. She decided the elevator was the lesser of two evils.
There was a little trouble with the elevators. The light on the button to call the elevator was broken so we weren't sure we were calling the elevator or not. Then two of the four elevators were making strange noises, grinding and squeaking and occasionally a bang or two.
We went through several failed attempts to get her into an elevator that she was satisfied with. Julius couldn't understand why we weren't getting into any of the cars that arrived. She tried to explain it while setting a good example for him, but was not succeeding very well.
Finally I said, "Julius what do you think about facing your fears?"
He answered enthusiastically, "It's GOOD mom. Facing your fears is really good!"
The next time the elevator opened, my mom flung herself into the car with us racing after her to catch up.