Tonawanda News — Did I mention that last packet had markers in it? It did. Four of them, red, yellow, green and blue. Which were the colors of the spots and stripes and designs now winding their way around and over and all about the arms, legs, hands and face of my younger son, who had spent the past hour or so gleefully decorating himself.
It was surprising and creative and it was impossible not to laugh. (Maybe it would have been more possible if they’d been permanent markers. They weren’t.) I got him out of his car seat and marched him into the ice cream parlor, past the slightly baffled face of the girl working there and into the bathroom, where he was scrubbed until marker-free — and told not to do that again. He agreed. It was a minor funny, colorful bump on the road of parenthood.
I should have been more specific. (And I shouldn’t have laughed.)
Fast forward about a month. I’m working in our home office, and the boys are letting me do so. They’re being really, really good, actually ... so good that I stayed in there a little longer than I should have, trying to get things done. They were happy, they were laughing, it was good. Right?
Then Sam appeared in the door.
”Don’t come out here, Mom,” he instructed. “Just stay there, OK? Don’t come out.”
He vanished. I considered this a moment. Then I stood up, grabbed my camera and snuck around the corner.
He hadn’t decorated himself this time. He’d decorated his brother.
Jim, looking proud of himself, perched on an end table and grinned at me. There was marker on his legs. His arms. Across his beaming face and winding around his chest. His name was written prominently right below his 8-year-old heart surgery scar. He apparently thought this whole thing was hysterical.