Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Oxen is Slow...

One of my favorite movies from my teen years was High Road to China starring Tom Selleck and Bess Armstrong. I fell deeply in lust with Bess when she wore a bikini in The Four Seasons, and I’ve been waiting ever since for her to be so bold again. She was frustratingly clad in High Road to China, but I loved her just the same.

The point? Oh yeah. There was an ancient Chinaman who gave some advice to the intrepid heroes of this yarn: The oxen is slow, but the earth is patient. At the time I laughed at the inanity of the statement, and have used it in conversation where advice is needed and I have none to offer.

Him: My girlfriend dumped for some other guy.
Me: The oxen is slow, but the earth is patient.
Him: Huh?
Me: Exactly.

Maybe listening to NPR has broadened my horizons--*tongue in cheek*--but in the last couple days that phrase has been on my mind. For years a thread has been spinning in my head, trying to make sense of it. Perhaps I always knew.

Last weekend we took Jackson’s top bunk out of his room and put it in Emmett’s, replacing the crib which has been officially retired. Emmett has been sleeping in our bed for almost a year now. Believe me, this is the absolute best form of birth control there is. Beth and I didn’t hold out much hope that Emmett would sleep in the bed, but he did. For the first time since time immemorial I need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. Gone is the foot in the small of my back, or the sudden back handed bitch slap.

He got just a little older, like the slow drip-drip-drip of water into an empty bucket—except it isn’t empty anymore. Time moves slowly, like the ox plowing the field, and yet it flies when you’re having fun. Soon I’ll have to steal my kisses when he is sleeping.

Before Jackson, when we found out we were having a boy, I had already planned his life. I couldn’t wait to teach him to throw a football, to build a model airplane; I wanted to juice my soul and serve it to him in a silver chalice. Now he is six, stretched out and skinny, no longer a baby, but a little boy with a mind of his own.

The earth is patient is another way of saying what’s your hurry? My answer of course is, there’s plenty of time for that later. Right now my boys want to be silly, to hide in obvious places, to run at half-speed just to be caught.

Emmett “calls” me at work now.

“Hi daddy.”

“Hey little buddy, what are you doing?”

“Haburbity glub ker go go.”

“Oh, you’re watching Go Diego Go?”


“Ok, I love you, let me talk to mommy.”

“Lubby too daddy.”

That my friends is as good as it gets.


mr. schprock said...

That's cute, Scott. It makes me almost miss the days when my girls were that young. I'll never forget the time when I was sitting on the rug with a cup of coffee beside me watching TV. Daughter Number 1, just barely a toddler, came running with her arms outstretched to give me a hug and she knocked the cup over and scorched my right buttock. My wife thought it was pretty funny watching me do a little dance all over the room, just like Jackie Gleason did in "The Honeymooners" when he hit his thumb with a hammer. I finally had to go to the emergency room.

Ah, yes . . . precious memories.

magnetbabe said...

That was beautiful, Scott.
Your bucket analogy was amazing.
The whole oxen thing brought me back to The Good Earth and the importance of appreciating wwhat you have and living in the moment.

Jada's Gigi said...

Oh yeah! That is as good as it gets! My baby girl J spent the night with us on Sat. she's a bit iffy about sleeping allll night in her own bed and always ends up in mine, which I, as a Gigi, don't mind a bit. Somewhere around dawn she puts her little arm around my neck and sleepily whispers,,,,"I love you, Gigi". I can die happy. :)

Tee said...

Awhhh. So sweet :) I feel the same about my boys.

Eve said...

Oh Scott - such a beautiful post. Unfortunately, with me and mom's Alzheimer's - time is going too fast. I want it to slow down and quit taking her away. Oh, didn't mean to get morbid. Sorry.

Enjoy every day with those two!

Sadie Lou said...

Soon I’ll have to steal my kisses when he is sleeping.

*wiping away a tear*

Thanks, Scott. I needed this post today. My kids have been a hard challenge these last few days. Everything from allergies to backtalking. I forget to "enjoy" sometimes...

Mrs.T said...

Yes.. love that.

Moni said...

Oh the days go so fast when their growing up. It seems like just yesterday I was teaching my daughter, "Baaa Baaa Black Sheep" and she was struggling to say the word came out "seep"

As I'm writing this she's talking to one her girlfriends on the cell phone; she's only 9.

"I wish I could juice my soul and serve it to him in a silver chalice." Good stuff! I love the poetic flow of your writing.

A. Darcy said...

Have to love the babies... but if mine ever decided to start sleeping with me... yikes!!

The Zombieslayer said...

Him: My girlfriend dumped for some other guy.
Me: The oxen is slow, but the earth is patient.
Him: Huh?
Me: Exactly.

Heh. Now I know who to go to for relationship advice.

Wish my kid would call me at work. he's eleven and I'm no longer cool. he'd rather hang out with his friends.

Scott said...

Mr. Schprock - That's a good memory for sure. I don't have any of those yet, unless you count my youngest son head-butting me and giving me a bloody lip.

Natalie - Thanks. It's been a while since I read the Good Earth. That's Pearl S. Buck, no?

Gigi - Yeah, I hear ya sister. Nothing like the love of a small child.

Tee - I know how you feel about your kids. It's a special thing.

Eve - It's ok to talk about what is important to you. Please don't apologize. I'm so sorry that you and your mother are going through these hard times.

Sadie - I forget sometimes too! Don't feel bad.

Mrs T - Good to see you around. I love the pictures you have posted of your kids. What a little cutie that girl is.

Moni - There is nothing cuter than the way kids mess up words they are learning. Boon = balloon.

AD - I know, I know. Believe me, it's nice to have that part over with.

Zombie - I know this will someday be my situation. Perhaps when junior gets beyone the teenaged hump he'll come back again. I hope so. Keep me posted.

Anonymous said...

You are using the plural form of the noun with the singular verb.