My Side Kick (Literal)

Yesterday was a big deal. For me.

Yesterday I asked Margaret Blair Young, one of my favorite Mormon fiction writers to come to my house and talk to me for a moment about some new adventures I am considering in writing and her film Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons.

Right before she was about to arrive, Ever fell asleep all tuckered out from a morning in Salt Lake. However, it also happened to be an afternoon where The Chief declined my offers for a nap. We are entering into the To Nap or Not Nap? phase and I am trying to be limber about the transition.

When Margaret arrived The Chief was satisfied to be on the couch, head on my gold pillows, playing all the tantalizing games on daddy's iphone. But as soon as my attention--though it wasn't necessarily his before--was threatened to be diverted to another channel he panicked.


Suddenly he was on my lap. Suddenly he didn't know how to work the iphone, which is ridiculous because these days every two year old knows how to swipe and touch and manipulate the iphone. (It's the new developmental benchmark.) Suddenly, he was the Incredible Hulk who had swallowed Oscar the Grouch who had swallowed Grumpy the dwarf.

Suddenly he throws the iphone which gets lodged in between the couches and, suddenly it was Code Red.

"Get it Mom. GET IT MOM! GET IT. GET IT. GET IT!" He grunted and punched and paraded on like it was the last days and the iphone was the only remaining piece of fish on the planet.

So there I was on my hands and knees feeling around for the phone while trying to have a decent conversation with Margaret. My hope was to have a more than decent conversation but what can you do when you are on your hands and knees with your arm up to your elbow stuck in the recesses of the couch?

When the phone was retrieved he no longer cared about it. Of course. Then he wanted his spaceship and when I found that for his pleasure he wanted me to fly it around the room.

"Fly Mom. Fly Mom! FLY. FLY. FLY!" His demands reached decibels I didn't know could come out of a human body. So there I was listening to the wisdom of a great mentor while I am making quiet swishing sounds with my lips and flying the mini spaceship throughout the atmosphere of the living room.

This is ridiculous, I thought. I became tempted to use a movie or Little Einsteins or something to distract him but I also was painfully aware that when my son desired my attention, nothing on this planet can disuade him. I was trapped by a toddler--dun dun dun!

The conversation with Margaret was really helpful. I stopped flying around the room when we approached the subject of having energy in voice. It was then The Chief abandoned all decent tactics and just started screaming. Screaming without stopping.

Rolling on the floor.

Hands in claw position like Rigor Mortis had settled in.

Head repeatedly banging on the carpet.

"I should go," Margaret said looking at the display of epic melt downs. "He looks like he could use his mother's attention."

Had I been thinking clearly, I would've come up with a solution to this mini crisis. I would've thought about putting him in his room for a substantial time out or whatever our disciplinary plan called for that day. But I wasn't. I was thinking, Margaret Blair Young is here and I want to consume every thought she is willing to share.

I was thinking about (ahem) myself.

After Margaret left I took The Chief for a walk--his favorite activity of his short lifetime. The sun melted into a sky of bright blue and left a trail of pinks and yellows. The Chief and I watched it for a moment,

"Sun go na-night?" he asked, his brown eyes freckled with reflective lights.

"Yep," I replied.

When we rounded the block to come home he refused to take another step. I carried on knowing he'd eventually catch up. After a few yards I turned around to see him lying in the dry ditch like a fresh corpse. His arms folded about his chest like he was RIP already. I may have been tempted to leave him there.

But no.

I carried him like a sack of potatoes flung over my shoulder the rest of the way home. His kicking and protesting didn't stop until we made it through the front door--which is when I declared an early bedtime.

I am so silly sometimes. Sometimes I think I can compartmentalize everything. Sometimes I think I can do this and do that and then do this after I do that. But the truth is, motherhood permeates everything. It trumps all. It's the calling that interrupts this and cancels that and makes this look like it never mattered anyway. And if by chance you start to forget, or your dreams get too big for your britches, or you begin to ignore the importance of what is already on your plate, someone will remind you.

And I love them for it.

(Most of the time.)

I am Courtney Kendrick and I am guilty of being an absentee mother from time to time. But I am ok with it.
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