Family · Life · Parenting


We had soccer today, and then we came home and did our Saturday chores. There was much less grumbling this week than usual, possibly because I reached the end of my grumbling tolerance last Saturday and I was so loud the neighbors were hiding. Whatever the reason, Saturday chores got done in record time. Next up was helping Dad outside with the fence. “He says you need boots!” I hollered as the door slammed behind them. I hope to work on door slamming someday. Today I was just happy they shut it.

Ten minutes later, Elias came inside, worked up to a fever pitch. He couldn’t find any boots. I took a deep breath.

I’ve been trying more and more lately to stop taking on their problems. I don’t mean the big stuff. I’m not going to stop ordering, picking up, and paying for Levi’s medicine. I mean stuff like boots. You can’t find your boots? I’m not the one who uses your boots. Your toes are not going to freeze off today. This is not something I need to take on.

So I said, “Here are the things I know. I know there are black boots and green boots. I know they were both in the garage recently. If they are not in the garage now, you’re going to have to figure out where they went.” And Elias went out again, dark thoughts about cruel mothers swirling almost visibly around his head.

And then I went ahead and forgot all about it. I don’t reserve much processing power for boots. Whoosh! Gone. Until tonight, when Paul and I were coming home from our date, may Auntie be blessed unto the Nth generation for making it possible.

“I forgot to tell you,” Paul said. “When we were headed out to the barn today, Elias told me he wanted to die.”

I asked why, without much alarm. Listen, I know people say that girls bring more drama than boys, but I ain’t buyin’. If that is actually true, I don’t know how anyone survives girl children. The boy children we have deserve Oscars.

“He didn’t have any boots.”

Paul, retrieving his eyeballs from where they had rolled back in his skull, looked at Levi’s feet. Black boots. So he asked where the green boots were.

“In the pool,” Levi said.

Yep. There they were.

“Why,” asked Paul carefully, “are your boots in the pool?”

“I was trying to wash them off,” Levi said, “and they got away.”

Why is our pool murky, no matter what we do? It’s a mystery.

Paul fished the boots out with a garden hoe (Why is our pool murky? IT’S A MYSTERY I TELL YOU.) and Elias decided he could probably go on living.


I am going to give up asking why. There are no satisfying answers. But at the risk of surrendering entirely to a cliche, this is why we can’t have nice things. Because pool boots.

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