Dreams and Odysseys

Walking uphill

Sage, Braedin, arrows 2Sage’s dream came true—literally. He’d woken up in tears three days ago, sobbing because he’d dreamed he’d gotten the toy bow and arrows I’d so cruelly denied him a week or two previously, but he woke up before he could play with them. He was inconsolable until I bribed him with a trip to the Variety Store in exchange for good behavior at the library’s reading program that morning. I was optimistic that I could continue my arrowless existence; after all, there had only been one set hanging lonely from a toy display, and judging by its solitude, it wasn’t a commodity the store owners were eager to replace.
Fate declared a different outcome, though. A blow was struck to my already-moribund cause of de-cluttering, but my child’s heart remained unbroken: It was there, the toy bow, three suction cup arrows, and a plastic bowie knife in its plastic sheath singing their siren songs to my son. A determined and politically incorrect Indian was firing fiercely at an unseen target above the tantalizing arrows; a miniature village of teepees rested peacefully below it. Sage didn’t share my concern about stereotyping, though—he just REALLY wanted that bow and arrows. So I bought them.
Sage and his buddy Braedin bore their new acquisition proudly out of the Variety Store, a boy at each end, as though they were pallbearers at a freakishly festive funeral. Once home, Sage promptly lost an arrow to our voracious puppy, who thought this was a new toy for HER and fetched it with such enthusiasm that it bent in half. The loss of one third of his arsenal couldn’t dampen Sage’s spirits, though. He and Braedin played happily, their peace punctuated by occasional skirmishes over the plastic knife but being quickly restored by the threat of losing their beloved weaponry. A second arrow was lost in short order—apparently lost to the same vortex that had consumed the red Spiderman ball a couple of days before—but the boys made do with the lone survivor.
Even the magical arrows couldn’t keep them entertained indefinitely, so we sallied forth on a Rural Odyssey. They started out with a scooter and a Dora the Explorer bicycle, but their vehicles were abandoned by the side of the road before we’d gone a quarter mile. Boys and puppy made their way boldly forward, however, and we went on a trek of surprising magnitude for the son who generally complains that he’s tired and must be carried if he has to walk more than a block or two. (It almost never works—that kid is getting HEAVY—but he’s never unafraid to try.)
This time, with the indefatigable Braedin to lead the way, we went Beyond the End of the Road. The journey was punctuated by frequent stops in the ditch, including one in which both boys contributed water to the spring melt-off flowing through the grass, and another stop to hold a lengthy debate about whether the water flowing beneath the road was sewer water. (They’d done their bit to make it so, but I argued successfully that it was mostly melted snow and we proceeded onward.)
We eventually worked our way back towards home. I was alarmed but (due to my horse-loving inner eight-year-old) excited to see across the valley that the horses behind our house had gotten out and were frolicking about our yard. I tried to hurry the boys up, so we accelerated from Snail to Turtle pace, but the drama was over by the time we got back: The horses were rounded up and grazing innocently in their field, a welter of muddy divots in our oozing yard the only evidence of their misbehavior.
The rest of the day proceeded peacefully, although it ended in a dramatic meltdown by Braedin when, just as his mother was about to take him to dinner with his grandparents, he developed a craving for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that he’d previously only pecked at. MY hungry caterpillar moved in too quickly, though, and by the time Braedin emerged from the bathroom with clean hands, all that remained of his sandwich were a few sad little crust bits. This situation was intolerable, and Braedin made his displeasure abundantly clear while Sage, who will clearly win no Friend of the Year awards, grinned like the Cheshire cat. Braedin’s mother eventually had to pick him up and haul him to the car, yowling all the way, while I followed her with the booster seat; I was experiencing a combination of virtuous maternal sympathy and distinctly un-virtuous relief that Sage wasn’t the only tantrum-throwing delinquent on the block.
The day ended unfortunately, but I’ll always have the memory of two boys, a puppy, and a landscape coming alive, while Sage will always have the arrow to commemorate his long day of fresh air and friendship. At least until it disappears into the Toy-Sucking Vortex. Which it probably already has. At least we have pictures.


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