As I drove into the parking lot, I knew. With a flash of premonition that is gifted to us for paying attention to those we love, I knew: Noah was about to lose it and I needed a Mama Trick.
“Hey, Buddy … when you looked up the movie times was it Sunday’s movies or today’s?”
Our school had an in-service day on a Monday, and a movie that Noah reallreallyreally wanted to see had come out over the weekend. I promised him that on his day off, after he did his chores, we would go. He looked up the showtimes online, told me the best one and I agreed.
I never double checked.
That was my mistake.
But I couldn’t own up to that. Ok, I could but I wasn’t entirely to blame.
I pulled into rock star parking in the empty lot and looked at him in the rear-view mirror.
“Oh Mom! I’m so sorry,” I could hear the catch in his voice — he was about to be disappointed in himself.
“I think this day just got a theme,” I told him as we got out of the car, walked to the theater’s locked doors and peered in at the Monday showtimes. “Roll with it.”
He looked at me skeptically, but he wasn’t beating himself up.
“Where do you want to go for lunch?” I asked him.
“We weren’t going to lunch.”
“Roll with it.”
I put the car in gear and drove to the closest cluster of restaurants.
It was easy to see he enjoyed the power as he chose a place then told the hostess, “two for lunch.” Over burgers he gazed out the window.
“Mom, can we go to the Halloween store and look around? I might find a costume.”
Panic rose in my belly. I was about to lose it.
“But I always make your costume.”
Noah smiled like I hadn’t seen him do since we set out for the movie he reallyreallyreally wanted to see, “Roll with it, Mom.”
I stammered then unleashed a monologue of Halloween memories. “But…but…who was it who made you into a goldfish? Who made the dinosaur costume that lasted from Luke’s toddler years to yours? Who tea-dyed your shirt and braided a whip so you could be Indiana Jones? Who realized Luke’s dream of being glow-in-the-dark lightening? Spinach! I made Luke into a can of spinach! And Bekah, sure she was a fairy for seven years in a row, but each year I made her costume different. Making Halloween costumes is my thing!”
A soft compassionate look crossed his face…OK, maybe it was the look of “I’m About To Zing You,” but I will always remember it as compassionate.
“Mom, life is about change. Roll with it.”
I was torn: sad that I had to give up my annual bragging…er, I mean the cherished time spent with hot glue, felt and a sewing machine but proud that he had used my own words and lessons I’ve taught him on me.
“So, this is what it feels like,” I thought.
After lunch we moseyed on over to the costume store where he quickly picked out a Halloween costume from his favorite science fiction movie series. I may have mocked it just a little, called it, “That cheese, Bloba Feta,” when we went to a second store to finish accessorizing. He took control of the whole project and created the costume his way, not mine.
By dinner Noah had his costume hanging in the closet. My trick had turned into a day that was a treat for us both.