Last night I discovered that Jaden would rather eat snake guts than fried worms, and that he’d rather sleep in a pasture of cow manure than on an ant hill. I found out that Dillon would rather be trapped on an island than on a mountain top, and that he would rather be bitten by a fire ant than eat fire.
I learned that all three of us would rather be trapped inside a book than trapped in a movie (the book would allow our imaginations to make the people and scenery and voices take on different characteristics). I learned that we’d all rather have ice cream for breakfast than eat junk all day (all that junk would make us feel sick and slow).
I also came to realize that I would rather eat 100 pieces of tree bark than an entire plank of wood…that I’d rather fall from a cloud than from a mountain… that I would rather eat a giant bowl of worms than live under ground.
The scenarios came tumbling out one after the other, “dad, would you rather…”, “…you can’t say neither!” Their imaginations knew no bounds. I was supposed to be saying goodnight and putting them to bed but once we took that first step toward the hypothetical, there was no turning back. The three of us lay there staring up at the ceiling as we contemplated our options and rationalized our decisions. We laughed so hard at some of the choices we made up that we’d get consumed by the ridiculousness of it all and confuse which options were paired with one another.
Eventually we just started cheating and slightly altering the situations, making little amendments here and there whenever we saw an opportunity to add conditions, or trying find an out: “when you say ‘burned by the dragon’, do you mean burned burned or just kind of toasted?”; “if I had a parachute…”; “you didn’t say for how long!”; and of course, “no, because that’s cannibalism”.
Our philosophical musings eventually gave way to delusions of grandeur. We discussed our superhero names and laid claim to our individual super powers. Jaden became Super J, destroyer of evil with x-ray and laser eyes. Dillon chose laser eyes as his power. He said he wouldn’t need to see through things, he would just make them explode, and then he wouldn’t need to see through. He wasn’t sure about a name… I suggested Wonder Dillon. The look he responded with can probably best be described as pity, mixed with some shame, and peppered with disappointment. It was almost as if it hurt him physically just a little bit to hear that come out of my mouth. He took a deep breath and rolled into a backwards somersault and said, “I’m not going to be Wonder Dillon”. Well then.
Fatigue had set in, (also my convenient justification of his swift dismissal of my super hero name for him) and it was time to go to sleep. They pulled up their covers and rolled around in search of the comfort spot. I stepped out into the hall to the sound of quiet laughter.
I woke up today and tried furiously to remember all the scenarios we came up with…most of them escaped me. The house was silent as I headed past the bedrooms of sleeping boys and downstairs to leave for work. I knew what I would rather do…
Thanks for coming along for the ride… kiss your kids.