Every good story is built around a perfect mix of comedy and tragedy. Similarly, every day of parenting has an often not so perfect mix of the same two ingredients. The days the scale tips in favor of comedy are the great ones. And when it goes the other way, well, let’s just say that’s when you’ll find me pounding the pavement at 10 p.m.
Or pounding something at least.
Being a brilliant story teller, at least as far as 3-year-olds go, J has an intuitive grasp of the importance of comedy and tragedy juxtaposition. In fact, he’s becoming fairly well known (around these parts, and by these parts, I mean this blog) for the sketches he creates. His best from this past week was an outstanding one, some might even say Shakespearean. He is definitely starting to find his voice.
We were in the backyard and J found a little orange berry-ish thing that came off a tree (or bush?). That’s as good of a description as I can give; I’m not great with plant or plant-based item identification (sorry Dad). It wasn’t an acorn, that’s all I know. Anyway, J picked the orange thing up and said, “Aww, he misses his family. We need to find his family.”
Our search begins for the possibly orphaned orange thing’s family. J asks me to pick him up so he can check the holes in three of the trees in the yard. First tree, nope. Second tree, no luck there. Last tree, alas, no, no family there either. The search continued. And it continued. And it continued some more. Under branches, rocks, and swing sets. Any of the usual places an orange thing’s family might be hiding. Seemed like the search went on for a really long time, but with J, a lot of things seem like they go on for a long time. He definitely doesn’t have attention problems (yet). (I guess that should come as no surprise though. I believe I was about 6 or 7 when I started watching entire Atlanta Braves baseball games on TV…oh yeah, and I didn’t just watch, I scored them in those old-school baseball score book things. That’s pretty normal for a 7-year-old, right?)
“Where could his family be? Let’s think. Think, think, think.” J said while tapping his finger on his neck under his ear (that’s the universal sign for thinking, of course). After a moment of cogitation, we finally tried the porch. And there they were!
Dad on the left, mom on the right, son in the middle; a mixed color ball family. And you know how judgmental balls can be, to lose your son on top of all that: Tragic. The struggle is definitely real. I believe this picture captures the fraught nature of the climactic moment: the comedy and the tragedy. It was a touching reunion, but sadly, the story didn’t end there. I won’t get into the details, because I’m really not over it yet, but I’ll just say that the reunion was not long lived.
(30 seconds after the tragic ending)
J: “Ooh! Ninja Turtle bubbles!”
I was still a little choked up, to see the happy little family reunited like that and then….Sigh, luckily the 3-year-old heart is much more resilient.
(OK. So maybe not quite Shakespearean, but give him a break, he’s only 3.)
**Free (and non-existent) Explorations of Ambiguity swag to anyone that can identify the music lyric reference in the title. Artist and song.**