By August of 1986, we had three children, Eric, our very obedient boy, Rachel, and Autumn, our quiet one. You’ve already heard about Rachel, she’s the one with the Cotton Socks that brought down the Great Wall. Autumn’s little girl exploits will come; but, this story isn’t about either of our girls. This story is about our firstborn, our calm, obedient one; our son.
And so it begins…
Once upon a time in a faraway land in the North, otherwise known as New Jersey, there lived a little dark-haired boy named Eric. Now, Eric was not your typical little boy. Eric was a very obedient little boy. In fact, Eric was obedient to a fault, which is what this story is about. If I told Eric to ‘stand in the kitchen and wait’, I was convinced that I could have cleaned the entire house, taken out the garbage, done five loads of laundry and he would still be standing there…in the kitchen…waiting. Little did I know that on this particular day, one command I’d given him would come back to bite me. Hard.
There were once dark days in the world. Days when not everyone had a cellphone in their back pocket and the word text was a noun and not a verb. You may not remember those days, but there are certain ones that are hard to forget. I remember clearly a day in September of 1984 when Eric was almost three, Rachel was seven months old, and Autumn was still just a wish in my heart. It would be one of “those” days.
It was a blustery, windy, cool, and rainy day. I packed Eric and Rachel up in their car seats to go to a wellness appointment at our pediatrician’s office. Once both children were contained, we began our journey to Morristown.
A little history, because I love history. Morristown, is a very old town in New Jersey. In fact, it played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War. It was here that George Washington established two winter encampments. And, it is also in Morristown that, seemingly, every old house has a plaque stating ‘George Washington Slept Here‘. So many plaques, in fact, that they had convinced my Grandma Moon that George Washington must have been a ‘dirty old man.’
By 1984, many of these old houses had been transformed into offices. Since homes don’t usually come with parking lots, parking for offices was on the street. These stately old houses were set back far from the road and though the walk to the door sometimes felt like a small marathon, I liked the pediatrician and didn’t mind.
I’d found a parking spot right in front of the doctor’s office, no small feat on a rainy day! I was so excited, I jumped out of my car, pushed the lock button, and slammed the door. That’s when I realized that my keys and my children, were still inside. I knew I couldn’t panic because that would scare my babies. So, I calmly looked at my boy through the window, smiled, and said, “Eric, I need you to be a big boy and help Mommy.”
“Eric, I need you to get out of your car seat and unlock the door for Mommy.”
These words were met with silence and as much a look of consternation as an almost four year old can muster.
His voice said, “Mommy, I’m not allowed to get out of my car seat.” The look on his face said, “You must be crazy!”
“Yes, Eric, Mommy knows that; but this time it’s okay because Mommy needs your help. So, please get out of your car seat and unlock the door.”
“Mommy, I’m not allowed to get out of my car seat.” He was almost angry.
It was then that I realized Eric thought this was some kind of a ‘sick’ test, I was putting him through. What kind of a Mommy was I?
I tried again.
“Eric, honey, you won’t get in trouble if you get out of your car seat this one time and help Mommy.”
At this point, Eric’s little chin was quivering. My poor little boy was upset and to top it all off, Rachel started crying.
“Mommy, Rachel is crying.”
“I know, Eric. If you open the door for Mommy, I’ll make her stop, but I need you to climb out of your car seat and unlock the door.”
I’d love to say that Eric obeyed at that point, but it took about five more minutes, that seemed like an eternity; and Rachel’s crying jumping into high gear before he finally, with tear-filled eyes, complied. It took a new superhero figurine to convince Eric that he wasn’t in trouble and that he’d done a good thing. It took me a long time to contemplate what we’d done to make our son so afraid of disobeying. I finally decided that this was our boy…an obedient, little perfectionist, who told on his sisters for the smallest infraction, and was appalled when they disobeyed.
My boy is a 36 year old man today. He’s still obedient, but now to the Cross. He’s less of a perfectionist, because he knows only Jesus is perfect; and he loves his sisters with all of his heart. He is a devoted husband to our sweet, Kylene; and a wonderful Daddy to two beautiful little boys, Colby and Sawyer. He is all of those things and more, but, overall, he will always be my little boy…and he really is a very big deal.
Happy Birthday, Eric! You are so very loved!