Thursday, November 14, 2013

And We Both Would Win

When our daughter Josephine was in kindergarten, one of her classmates was a boy named Jaan who we've known since he was two: long enough to have formed our own relationship, one not mediated through his parents.

Like many 5-year-old boys, he was interested in exploring power of all kinds, but mostly of the biff-bam-kapow action variety. One day we got into a game of one-upsmanship that started with him "shooting" me with a cannon, a weapon he claimed to be the most powerful in the universe.

I replied by saying, "If you had a cannon, I would dodge your cannon balls, then give you a hug full of love. You would be so happy that you would decide to turn your cannon into a flower pot . . . And we both would win." He shook his head and walked away in a show of comical defeat.

This then evolved into a good-natured, slow-motion argument that took place over the course of months. Each time we saw one another, which was quite often, he would be ready with a new proposal for something that was more powerful than love, often choosing something from the news.

A hurricane? "I would hide from the hurricane with the people I love and when it was over, I would still be here and the hurricane wouldn't . . . And we both would win."

The sun? "The sun is only out half the time, my love will always be there . . . And we both would win."

At first, I think he was genuinely trying to top me, and our discussions would go several rounds, but after awhile, he began to concede his "defeat" right away, with a simple smile and a shrug. I got the sense that as he considered more and more terrible things, it made him happy to be assured that love was the most powerful thing in the universe.

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Rebekka said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. Gun play has just begun to enter my 5 year old's life, and therefore his 3.5 year old brother's life as well. I kept it from them as long as I could, but it is here. In the past, when their friends would pretend to shoot a gun at me or them, I would say " oh no! You just got me with your love gun! Now I have to hug you!" and would chase them around until I could smooch them. I do this with my boys still, and they enjoy it. But I am still quite discomfited by the gun play, and while I have given the rule that they are not to point the "guns" at a living thing, it has been bumpy enforcing it, and they delight in pushing that boundary. I do like this beautiful, playful response that you provided.

Meagan said...

Your response has the same rhythm as "Runaway Bunny." If you become a crocus in a hidden garden, I will be a gardener and I will find you."

I thought the line "For you are my little bunny," (your version: and we both would win) appeared after each stanza, but if checked and it is only he first. I guess I just add it internally.

Either way, I guess these are pretty much the same story.

Anonymous said...

<3 <3 <3

Anonymous said...

<3 <3 <3