Some fighting, bit of yelling and some late-night basketball.
The kids are like those giraffes who don’t remember 15 minutes later that they were attacked by a lion. Or maybe it’s the camels who don’t get ulcers (because they don’t hold onto unwanted emotions). Whatever the wild animal analogy, kids seem to have that uncanny ability to forget the longer-term bad and replace it with the shorter-term good.
Wait a minute. I’m supposed to be making fun of them here, but maybe they have a point.
There are the regular, “I hate you!” screams. Then there’s some, “You are the worst parents in the world.” (BONUS NOTE: when we’re in English-speaking countries, at least people can’t understand what the kids are yelling! But in Holland here, hmm, too many people get it. Then you have to close the windows.) Then some boy fights, then some more fighting because they know it annoys us.
Then we separate them and go out and play some basketball. It’s 10:30 PM and the sun is just setting over the horizon. It’s easy to see how those Dutch and Flemish painters used oranges and reds and colors of fire and light to let that last glow of the evening radiate out of the canvas and into our imaginations. But it’s like that tonight. In fact, it’s like that most nights. We just need to get outside and enjoy it … and shoot a few hoops.
Some two one one ball with a vague 3-point line and no out of bounds with minimal rules makes for a good end-of-day game. Except if the ball goes over the short fence where the donkeys and alpacas are … that’s a technical foul and the guilty party has to jump the fence while the others try to distract the spitting and kicking beasts. But it doesn’t happen very often.
Editor’s note: My dear reader, this is at least one of the reasons I write. The boys were royally painful tonight with their deaf ears to any sort of cooperation and screaming and offhand insults. But I write and it reminds me of their perspective: they don’t realize they’re causing such pain. Maybe we can learn from that somehow. If only one party realizes there’s pain or harm, maybe it can be less for the other side? Then I write about short-term and long-term memories and how maybe the kids have it right–or they’re just lucky. Or they’re young. Or they have no responsibility. Then there are powerful Dutch sunsets and 2-on-1 basketball that all wipes away the tears and the frustration. I learn through writing. I process, I digest, I swallow. It goes through me, it’s a filter. I learn, I see, I understand.
If I ever stop writing, I might as well stop breathing.
I think they won on a near-the-donkey 3-point shot, but I don’t even remember. It was a blast and a great way to end the day.