Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Neighborhood

Yep, we moved again. This time we moved into Dawn's parents upstairs apartment. Her father is very ill with late stage prostate cancer. It's nice to be close to him and be able to help when necessary.

My son, Vincent, is with me for the summer and loves the new place. We have campfires in the evening and there are lots of kids to play with in the neighborhood. In fact, its those kids who are going to be great material for this blog. The things they say just crack me up.

For example, Nathan looked at me today and said, "Mr. Go-la-zes, me and Vincent are gonna make a list of games to buy. And maybe we should get some more controllers for the Xbox so more kids can play at the same time. And maybe our moms can make lunches for us because you always make stuff like vegetables. Kids don't like that stuff all the time."

Meanwhile Vincent is trying to correct the child on the pronunciation of our name, Gonzalez, and when the kid gets to the part of kids not liking vegetables he plants a hand on his forehead and rolls his eyes. I just stand there taking it all in and watch as strange children I've never met before shake their heads in agreement with the 7 year old mastermind, Nathan.

Vincent breaks the silence. "Well my dads name is Gonzalez, and I love broccoli and if you walk away from the table hungry its your own darn fault. That's what my dad tells me and I eat everything."

It's my turn to slap a hand to my forehead and roll my eyes. "What Vincent means is it's polite to eat what is served when someone prepares food for you. If you don't care for something then the proper thing to do is thank them for making it and say 'no thank-you' when they offer it."

My words fall on deaf ears as I am interrupted by a child I've never met before asking me if we have Popsicles. A heart beat later even Vincent has moved on.

A few minutes later I hear a child shout, "Don't be a douche!" followed by ear splitting silence. Then like the soft voice of an angel I hear my son whisper, "Holy shit you are gonna be in trouble if my dad heard that."

"Alright! Game off and everyone in the kitchen." The silence from the front room roars and I can hear the Xbox power down. A few long moments more of silence and I say, "I'm not going to count to three. I said get in here."

In from the front room tumble four kids, Vincent age 11, Nathan age 7, Emily age 7, and the kid who doesn't talk. Estimated age 6-8 years old. Vincent stands directly in front of me and snaps to a smart military prade-rest position and says, "Yes Dad?" I never taught him to do that. He simply found it the best way to show me that he is listening when I'm preparing to deliver guidance.

"Who lost their minds and used foul language?" Emily and the kid who doesn't talk each take a step back from Vincent and Nathan. Vincent begins to squirm and Nathan is marching in place while wringing his hands.

Looking serious at the boys I ask in a firm but warm voice, "Who said what?" to which Vincent replies, "Oh God, dad, are we in a lot of trouble?"

"Da- (I almost choke on my back teeth as I try to censor myself.) darn it, Vincent, stop calling out to God. What have I told you about that?"

Nathan chimes in, "Is it O.K. if I pray to God because I'm scared?"

"Look kids, this has nothing to do with God! Just stop swearing and no more foul language or everyone is going home."  I point to the front room and all four kids scamper away.

A moment later the kid who doesn't talk peeks his head into the kitchen and whispers, "Mr. La-gon-ez I think you should make them eat broccoli for supper. We can stay for supper right?" then he disappears and runs to the front room.

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