Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Buy Me That Tank Mom, No, THAT One!

Baby Boy (Reuben) was only 3 and in truth he was 5 days from his 3rd birthday. We were at the store and I had a plan to buy him a nice Tonka truck for his birthday. Naturally I wanted him to walk through the toy aisle and see what he wanted. I would come back later that day and buy it probably, and put it under the bed in a box until his 3rd birthday on March 22. I was also 8.5 months pregnant with Laura and wasn't in the mood to argue with him when he was being over zealous about a particular toy tank that he wanted. (and Army men to go with it. Over the years I have seen my son pretending to be in the Army in the backyard - - and he's been in every one of these plastic men's positions.)

Not only was the tank cheap looking it looked like it could have some sharp edges to it too and I didn't want my little boy to get hurt playing with it. (The thought that Tonka trucks are heavy and metal didn't enter my mind obviously) So there we were looking at the tanks. There were a few of them, and I made some sort of small talk about maybe getting it in a few days for his birthday - - and that was all it took! The sound-off was rather deafening. He WANTED that tank, and he wanted it NOW. Like I said, I was a bit pregnant and waddling around the store with back pain and didn't need another pain in my butt, so I picked up the tank I thought he wanted. "NO Mommy, buy me THAT tank" and he pointed to the one with the big star on the side of it. He already knew it was the American tank. I don't know how he knew that, but he knew that. He said it over and over to me in the car on the way home - - "This one is the American tank." I get it. No, really son, I get it!

I think I sent someone to the store later to get the Tonka too, but over the next few days I didn't see my son without his tank. He took it to church. He took it to the daycare. He took it to the neighbors when they had a BBQ and he didn't ask if he could join, he just joined. Reuben does that now too - - shows up, grabs a plate, helps himself, and gets involved in whatever the table is talking about. When he was in High School he ate his lunch, then the people around him knew they could and should shovel their extras over to his plate - - if they didn't shovel he would dig.

Five days of tank-loving, tank-sleeping, tank-playing, and tank-whispering led me to take the Tonka truck back to the store and exchange it for a few more tanks with STARS on them. I brought them home, he was thrilled. He played and he played, but about an hour into it he looked up and said "Can we go get the other one so they can blow it up?" I asked why he didn't just pretend to blow up the tanks he had. The look on his face was priceless - - it was as if I had become the enemy immediately - - "MOMMY, you don't blow up the Americans!" OK..I get it. No, seriously son, I get it.

Sometimes just for fun, because Reuben grew up and learned 99.99999% of everything that took place in the Civil War, I will ask someone to look Reuben in the eyes and make a stupid statement about Gettysburg or Shiloh. I do it to see THAT face again. I absolutely love the look he gives when he's been slapped cold with what he KNOWS to be utter ignorance - - but he's too polite to say "What are you, stupid?" He just stares at you for 2 seconds, then when you smile he relaxes. He knows you were kidding. I had Laura ask him once who won the Revolutionary War.....that was funny!

Tanks it is! 20 years later on the Greenest of days, (St. Patrick's Day) he is tanking around in a Stryker. He is driving them, sitting on them, dismounting them, and parking them in places where the sun does shine -- and the Lord is watching very closely I assume. I pray for his safety today, his wisdom, and I hope in 5 days he gets at least one piece of cake, a little wish, and that he feels a birthday hug from me. 20 years ago I should have bought him a play bank or something.

Happy St. Patrick's Day
Happy Birthday Gary Alan.

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