Today in the car, Daryl and I were listening to White Wedding by Billy Idol. He was going on about how much he loves the song, remembering it from when we’ve played Rock Band on the Wii.
“Who sings it?” I asked.
Without hesitation, he confidently replied, “The Beatles.”
I laughed so hard that I began to choke and nearly wet my pants. He took it well. He merely suggested that it was evidence that we clearly needed to play some Rock Band tonight. And so we did.
It took awhile to dig up enough batteries for the equipment that had been lying dormant for months. Eventually, we had enough to power our band. The teenager had disappeared to her room but the rest of the family lent their skills: Daddy on bass guitar, Daryl excited to try vocals, Hal and I on drums.
This is often my role: assisting the youngest child on drums. When we started out, he held both drumsticks and sat directly in front of the drum set. I sat off to his right with the foot pedal. He would play the red and yellow drums with his drumsticks while I reached across to play the blue and green with my fingertips.
I had soon added the yellow pad to my responsibilities and told him to just concentrate on the red one. Then I took one of the drumsticks. Like keeping the beat isn’t hard enough for me, playing three drums off to my side and at the proper height for a preschooler ain’t easy!
Eventually, Hal bored with it, as he always does. I suggested he dance instead and I took over the entire drum set. He danced for quite a few songs, then played with the dog, then worked a puzzle, then disappeared for awhile.
I could catch out of the corner of my eye that he was excitedly working on something at the dining room table, likely an art project. When the song finished, my husband looked up from his chair and, smiling, motioned for me to peek into the dining room.
Hal had grabbed two pizza boxes out of the recycle bin to make a work surface. He had then retrieved his brother’s unpainted slip-cast dragon statue from their bedroom, a bottle of red paint from the craft cabinet, and a 3″ paintbrush from the remodeling supplies. He squirted a pool of red paint on one pizza box and began painting the dragon on the other.
When Daryl saw it, he cried out in surprise and began to cry, his brother once again “vandalizing” his property. My husband and I calmly walked into the dining room to ask Hal what he thought he was doing.
That’s when I noticed the pants. We had failed to suggest that he change out of his church clothes when we got home earlier that afternoon. Most days, that wouldn’t be a big deal. Hal doesn’t typically dress up that much. But I had gone through the stacks of hand-me-downs the day before. He was wearing very nice dress slacks and a plaid button down shirt, both new to him and both now sporting splashes of red.
I cried out in surprise and began to cry. Well, ok, I didn’t cry but I wanted to. As my husband likes to say, you can’t have anything nice when you have kids. At least Hal made a reasonable choice in what to protect the table with. His much-older sister recently used my best cutting board when she decided to paint something at the table. It now wears brown slashes easily mistaken for food.