Of shoelaces and shenanigans

You don' want no drama, mama.
You don’ want no drama, mama.

This morning when Jack was tying his shoes, it looked like he was doing some sort of macramé project. He was folding laces over each other and pulling and tucking. It didn’t look like the kind of shoe tying I remember teaching him, and it took forever.

“Jack, are you ready buddy? We talked about this. We’re going to be late,” Mike said.

Outside it was snowing, which might mean slippery roads and a slower drive than normal. At the rate it was taking Jack to tie his sneakers, he would miss his carpool, and Mike would be faced with an unscheduled hour-long commute.

Mike and I looked at each other. He sucked a breath through pursed lips, trying to stay cool. Yelling doesn’t help. Yelling creates drama.

Drama slows … things … way … down.

Oof. Drama. Not good.

The act of withstanding the epic, mommy freak-out session this situation could inspire, brings to mind Odysseus’ battle to resist the call of the Sirens.

Yeah. Remember? That didn’t go well either.

We are a fairly active bunch in this family, most of us with somewhere between medium and high energy levels. That includes our younger kid. And the dog.

And then there’s this one really mellow guy thrown in the mix to shake things up.

By calming things waaay down.

Jack has always been easy to get along with. I wonder if he puts people at ease because of the complete lack of stress he exhibits. He takes his time telling a joke or a story, making sure everyone is with him along the way. He takes a while to eat meals too, savoring every morsel, even as I struggle to put my fork down between bites. Chew, then swallow.

There’s no fire, what’s the rush?

In early grade school, Jack was on a soccer team for several years. He’d jog along with the team, chasing the ball, without really any desire to make contact with the thing. He thoroughly enjoyed his time on the sidelines, though, where he’d encourage his teammates to lie on their backs and pick out cloud shapes. Sometimes he’d stop in the middle of the field to contemplate those same clouds. Or grass. Or a dog someone brought to the game…

And be astonished when the soccer ball hit him square in the noggin.

Hustle has just never been his thing.

For Mike and I, the battle is to remember to slow down, not overdo; to schedule rest days in our running routines, hold back from assembling to-do lists for the weekend for which not even a team of bionic bunny rabbits on meth would have the energy.

But between kids and jobs and travel and fitness and the volunteer stuff we committed to because we either can’t ever remember we have too much going on, or are just too flattered, excited or intrigued to say no, there is always much more to get done than we have the time for.

I’ve made efforts to slow down, to release my death grip on the clock, to let our kids have unstructured free time in droves, which Jack will use to play Xbox Live with his buddies.

For hours.

For God’s sake, couldn’t he find more productive things to do with his free time?

Like complain about his family in a blog, for instance? Or how about sit through another two-hour meeting that should have been 30 minutes? Or run a big 3.5-mile loop through the neighborhood in freezing weather?


Could Jack use just a bit more giddy-up in his gallop? Probably. Could we leave a few gaps in our schedules to stop and smell the roses once in a while? Definitely.

In the meantime we all just have to set our alarms a little bit earlier in order to get out of here on time.

But you have GOT to get a load of the shoelace thing. It’s like: Knit One, Pearl Two, I swear….


Okay, stop dinking around and vote. And then do it again tomorrow (thank you).


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  1. This sounds SO familiar. Gary\’s oldest son, Mike, is much like he is; living at the extremes for as long as necessary. Gary\’s younger son, Jeff, is a moderate\’s moderate. He still (now age 34) reflects back on some of his days with his dad as \”child abuse\” because Gary would often to forget to provide him with food, water, or rest. Jeff could \”take a break\” from taking a break. He married a delightful, moderate girl, just like him. Even when they were still in their 20s, their best advice to anyone to fix any problem was: Take a nap. I guess he\’s just proof that some of the Green gene pool was diluted after all.