Five days a week, at around 3 p.m., no matter where I am, it starts. I start ‘waiting for Ethan’. There is a general shift of wrapping up whatever I am doing, or heading home from wherever I am to get to the spot that I need to be ~ just inside my front door.
The feeling of waiting for Ethan is a little bit anticipation, a little bit duty, some apprehension with a dash of anxiety.
Ethan produces unique energy and, like a votex, sucks in much around him, including his younger brothers. Ethan coming home in the afternoon is like throwing a giant boulder into a lake with all the related splashing, ripples, waves and eventual settling. I like comparing him to a force of nature, but I believe he very well might actually be one.
It looks similar everyday.
He will walk from the bus yelling his farewells to his bus driver and aide and his traveling companions. Some days he does not kick or hit the barrier that opens in front of the bus. He’s not supposed to. Yeah.
He is not often happy to see me. ‘Not you!’ he says. He wants to know where the babysitter or Dennis or my mom is. I let him know that it’s just me. Some form of nonsense name aimed at me often follows. Mostly ‘meany-mom’.
He barrels in through the front door and shimmies off his backpack, man purse and hoodie, all onto the floor. As he walks through the house he kicks off each shoe followed by each sock. Most days I stand my ground and require him to retrace his steps so he can add his socks to the laundry bin, his shoes to the shelf, his backpack & bag to their resting spots and hang up his hoodie. This is no small feat, met with intense resistance throughout the entire process. It takes way longer than it should or could. Like I said – I do it most days.
This is when I remind him to wash his hands. You would think I just requested that he run 15 miles in the freezing rain on nails. He has a fit – everyday. Stamping, yelling, protesting, and exclaiming “No!” are all part of that fit. This takes way longer than it could or should.
At this juncture, he wants to pick something to eat. His requests are completely unpredictable. His selections range from a slice of pizza that we may or may not have, a quesadilla, a bowl full of icing or 4 slices of bacon. He might settle for chips and salsa.
Currently, Ethan is engaged in endless episodes of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. He watches with great joy as people cook up po’boys, ossobucco and clam chowder. He talks back to the folks on the show and cheers at appropriate times. This guy eats 6 foods – what does he like about Triple D?!?!
There is a general amount of chaos surrounding Ethan’s arrival home. Most of it involves very loud music played through my very expensive Bose speaker that he trails for room to room looking for dance party members. When he is able to lure some of those participants to the basement to dance or finally decides to color along with his super loud, cheesy pop music, I know the end is near.
Soon he will settle in and things will settle back down. I mean, nothing settles too far down around here – I mean the amount of ‘settling’ that I get. There’s Xbox & Netflix, the organizing of matchbox cars by multiple criterion that no one but Ethan is privy to, the packing and unpacking of all his worldly possessions in his room and the customary thievery of my kitchen utensils during dinner prep (really!)
It’s a spiritual practice waiting for Ethan.
One of my favorite chapel memories to date is when you came up from an adult fellowship where I had been keeping an eye on Ethan. I can’t remember what he was doing at the time only that he was relatively tired out. I then ran down a list of activities that we had done, which largely included getting him to run instead of me, and how well he’d done. You turned to me, gave me a moderately confused/shocked look and said “I hate you” while proceeding to chuckle and shake your head 🙂 Of course I also tend to get similar looks when I counsel at camp…out-crazy the kids before they out crazy me is my motto…the difference he of course being that they eventually go home. Good job Mama! ~ Katie