It was just before Christmas. We were traveling home from Augusta where we’d met good friends for dinner. We were seeing snow fall for the first time since before we’d left for Korea.
The argument between the kids started over a game on the ipad. Something about gathering gems, racing to a castle, somersaulting around the candy store and destroying the Tooth Fairy. The details are vague.
First — Garrett. He’s very I’m 13 and also a little bit John Wayne lately. He claimed he got to play some asinine game twice because it took him half as long to get through one game…(say wha-?)
Luke, much more I have no power here so I will whine in the most ingratiating way humanly possible retorted Gaaarrett doooonnnn’ttt! That’s not faaaiiirrrr!
And there was Natalie, who never seemed to notice they skipped her turn half the time, was seemingly thinking the boys are gonna argue, so I’m just going to sit here in my booster seat and sing to myself LOUDER NOW ‘oh, give me the ipad, give it to meeeeee…’
…when one of us big people in charge, I don’t remember if it was me or Guy, snapped “give. me. the. ipad. NOW.” And it was handed up through little hands and breaking hearts. At least that’s what I thought I heard. It could have been the sound of me grinding my teeth.
The silence made Guy and me smirk at each other out of the corner of our eyes. We’d surprised even ourselves with lowering the gauntlet over something so silly. No warnings. Just – no.
You have to understand, silence is not common in our lives. We were all kind of stunned. I think the kids were more than just a little dazed, and maybe seething at each other a bit. We all focused on the road in front of us as snow fell.
Then, Natalie, having immediately forgotten that we’d just admonished them for bickering, started humming “Frosty the Snowman” absentmindedly. Soon, Luke joined in with a word here and there, softly, still looking out the window and away from his siblings. Garrett joined in (with harmony, no less) soon after, and before we’d gone another mile, the five of us were singing at the top of our lungs and half laughing like crazy kookaburras.
Without words, someone started another holiday song, and though we didn’t know all the words to even one of them, we sang, all together that way, until we made it home safe and sound.
I had forgotten about this night until two days ago, when Natalie, completing an assignment for school, said to me “my favorite day was singing in the car in the snow!”
And I realized the ipad hadn’t made its way back inside the car in the past 3 months.
It’s so amazing what happens when we unplug things. Love your writing, Vicki.