03 May 2011

Paint a picture with words

While I wait until my iPhone dries in a container of rice from the downpour it got ruined in on my run yesterday I'll paint a little picture with words. I wrote this a while ago. All the events, facts, and conversations are real, but I set the story two months from now... does that make sense? I just wanted to capture a vibe in our family that I don't want to forget. These days with little ones seem like a struggle sometimes, but I love it. I love the quirks of our family and where we come from so I wanted to capture that. This is typical us.

If your skin burns easily, blisters over, and your natural inclination is to run away from a crashing ocean tide... you probably shouldn't live with the best surf in the world in your backyard; but, this is the life of Ambrose Robertson. He is a tall, soft bodied, pale four-year-old boy with the most sparkly blue eyes anyone has ever seen. He is quick-witted, emotional, good-natured and strikingly handsome.

His two-year-old brother Asher is an enthusiastic sidekick. Asher is feisty, skinny, more inclined to suntan, quick to cry foul but eager to make amends, and has the fluffiest blond hair around.

Both boys have an affinity for sugar and an aversion to obeying the first time their mother asks them to do something.

Today, their luck will run out.

"Get in the water boys," their mother proclaims.

Holding firm to their "Ignore Her First, Ask Questions Later" policy, the boys continue to sand castle on the shore.

Their mother. She always means well even if her requests are frequently selfishly motivated. You see, it is a very hot day on the North Shore. No one keeps track of degrees fahrenheit in Hawaii like their obsessive Mainlander counterparts, because it's more an issue of wind. In the summertime the Kona winds die leaving a trail of breeze starved stay-at-home moms in it's absence. This stay-at-home mom is named Stephanie and it had been exactly two weeks since she has been on summer vacation from teaching her course at the local college campus. This meant that she had two weeks without regular shifts in an air conditioned room, having insightful conversations that didn't revolve around cartoon characters and snack time, and now the winds had died. A quite literally sticky situation indeed.

"Let's get in the water boys," Stephanie tries again.

Oh these boys were good. Their complete focus gridlocked on the west wing of their castle...such architectural devotion has never been matched.

Their mother, although never known for her patience, has a keen understanding of this genetic predisposition to selective observation of her requests. Thomas, the boy's father, frequently demonstrated the origin of this skill while surfing the Internet. The only surfing he ever did. Thomas was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu and was the anchor of the family keeping them all secured to their current location because of his job and networking capabilities. His wife also suspected a scandalous love affair with the band he played in having something to do with their fierce ties to the island as well. She didn't mind one bit. Also, Hawaii was Thomas's only home, even if he never surfed, and mostly stayed on the shore himself. He passed that along to the boys as well and their mother understood this well.

"Alright, looks like I'm the only one who likes to swim..."

The sand castlers would never stand for such an insult!

"No Mama!" Ambrose protests.

"Mama! Mama!" echoes Asher who had just recently turned two and impressively refrained from uttering very many substantial words.

Their mother faces the ocean with a knowing smile hoping the boys will hurry up and join her so the back of her bare thighs can cease their exposure should anyone walk by. She's really in better shape than she ever gives herself credit for but is no swim suit model.

As two sets of little hands join hers the family procedes into the white foam.

"Wait!" screeches Ambrose.

"Come on Amby you always do this but you know how to swim son. I've seen you at swim lessons."

"But that's the pool Mama and this is the wavy ocean," he explains with breaks of panic accenting his ascending tone.

"Son, I'm right here and I have to hold Asher so you need to be the big four-year-old brother that you are," she tries. "Come on!"

"Ish!" Asher adds pointing out to the horizon.

There's a sea turtle two feet away! What a serendipitous sighting.

"Wow! Yeah Ash, a turtle! Look Amb--"

"Ahhhhh! A turtle!"

Ambrose scuttles back up to a safe distance on the creature free land.

"Ambrose, come on buddy. The turtle won't touch you because it's scared of you. It's really nice."


"Ok, Asher and I will just head out then."

"No! Don't leave me!"

Stephanie has a decision to make as Asher attempts to wiggle free and throw himself into the crashing tide to go snuggle that turtle: save the animal lover or comfort the land dweller with a disappointed turtle enthusiast throwing a fit in her now aching arms...

"Sometimes you boys drive me crazy!"

Good move. She went for the guilt factor.

Ambrose lets out a velociraptoresque retch of defeat and lumbers over to grasp his mother's free hand as they all wade into the now calming set of waves.

Stephanie holds each boy close to their respective sides of her body and they all bob up and down together. Her arms shake a little with the responsibility they hold and her motherly instincts kick in with a warm gush of affection for these young ones.

"Do you think it's a mommy turtle boys?"

"Ish!" agrees Asher.

"Maybe she's getting food for her family."

"Ahhhh!" panics Ambrose.

"Turtles don't eat people," Stephanie barks impatiently.

"Well Mama, I'm hungry for lunch now so let's go back home."

Ambrose is clever. He knows his mother can never argue with his basic hierarchy of needs.

"Ok," she sighs back up to the sand and deposits her children on land. "Let's go home for lunch."


We like to party... said...

Next time Ambrose... next time

that was very entertaining.

You should make a children's book with that! fo reals. Just add some of Thomas' creative juices with pictures.


melissa said...

sea turtles don't eat people: that's a lesson every child needs to learn. i agree about the book--for real. what a good idea.

stef j. said...

haha! i love this!

Rachel said...

"I probably need an editor".....you probably need a book deal! A velocitaptoresque book deal! I was entralled! Love it!

Melissa said...

oh my... word for word, been through that with my girl version of Ambrose!

You are an excellent story teller, so good at using words to express yourself!

In the future our eldest children will meet each other, drive each other crazy (because they are so much alike) and then understand what we had to deal with all of these years. they are exactly the same! exactly. wow. hahahaha

Melissa said...

oh and I am really enjoying this orchestral version of the Taylor Swift song!

stephanie joy said...

You all are kind pals <3 Thanks for the encouragement!

Brady and Rachel said...

That was awesome, I can imagine it perfectly! I think you probably have more patience than you give yourself credit for too. ;) Reflect on the few moments you were patient each day instead of all the ones that you weren't, something I need to/am currently trying to do myself. It is so funny to think that you guys are there in Hawaii and Ambrose wants nothing to do with the water, where we live in Oregon and Tayson would go jump in the FREEZING end of the pacific ocean that we have if I let him (which he does in the summer). camden on the other hand, loves the warmers side of the pacific, and happily plays on the sand here on the colder end. Looking forward to seeing you guys again this summer.

The Prigmore Family said...

Love this. Oh please don't ever go private on us!
Choob and Ambrose are kindred souls. He would've reacted EXACTLY the same way! Except he has never set so much as a toe in the ocean to date. Anxiety ridden child. Love your blog and your stories!

liko said...

you are a great writer.
but then i don't think that's the first time i've pointed that fact out or the only one.
entertaining, hilarious, clever, witty, you rock, woman!
and next time just do what i did with malik - grab them and put them on a bodyboard. sure they'll probably scream bloody murder for a bit, but then they get over it. real fast. that's not cruel, is it?
and guess who only has to work on thursday next week and only on tuesday the following week??
so that means we should definitely plan a girls night or craft night of some sort and i will definitely BE THERE. i kid you not. liko the flake will not do so in the next two weeks. just you watch!

Anna K. said...

Just wonderful! I love your life...i love your story. You are amazing!

.Ang. said...

I love how you write what you write.

I just love it.

That is all...