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One of the few words Malachi regularly says is "hero." He will say "badguy" too, but mostly what I hear is "hero."
Heroes are a bit of a big deal hereabouts.
And in that annoying motherly way that I have fully embraced I am always trying to turn it around into some sort of lesson.
"Heroes fight bad guys like this!" Zeke will proclaim while he flips around the livingroom wildly, punching and kicking with a wild abandon, "Pow, Pkshaw!" Malachi, wanting to join in but also aware that he is much more stout and much less agile then his brother, crouches down and does a sort of tai bo punching the air in front of him bit.
I sneak in, "Yes, and heroes help people that are in trouble."
"Spiderman is a super hero." Zeke will suddenly announce in that way he has, full of knowledge, over his mac and cheese.
"Heroooo!" Mal will add for emphasis.
"You know who else is a hero?" I will attempt, "Daddy is a hero. He works hard every day at his job, and then he always comes home and helps us make dinner and take baths." But they are already sword fighting with their forks, ignoring me.
"Heroes are strong!" Zeke will yell, jumping off the couch in a superman pose.
"They are strong, and they are also kind." I will helpfully add.
But he just ignores me, "Momma, be the princess and I will kiss you and wake you up." And I lay back on the couch while the boys take turns fighting the dragon and bestowing a kiss to break my spell-sleep.
In the end I mostly gave up. The image of the hero that's been built by the Disney movies we let them watch, the old school video games they play with Josh, the fairy tales I read, and the comic book figurines and posters we are culturally surrounded by is just too strong for one momma to overthrow.
But the other day I heard Malachi's voice, "Heroooo!"
And Zeke came bounding into the bathroom, "I'm a hero! I can help you!"
...maybe that image can be nudged a bit after all.
Two heroes who have dressed themselves to play in the rain. A hero always has a flashlight.
Over 6 years ago Josh and I drove a half hour into Idaho country fields to meet his old minister over coffee. Both the minister and the two of us had moved to different towns but he had still agreed to come back and marry us. This was the required talk-things-thru-and-get-advice-before-you-get-married meeting, and although it was a bit after-the-fact for us we still went.
What I remember most clearly was Kevin asking what things we fought over, what problems we had, and me admitting in the way that only a newlywed could that we mostly found ourselves at odds when each was pushing to give into the other's wishes.
His laugh was all grace as he told us that wouldn't last for long.
Last week we discovered that the last cupful of apple cider had gone bad. It had sat in the fridge untouched for a full two weeks while Josh and I both waited for the other to drink it.
I couldn't help but smile when Josh interrupted my shower to tell me how bad it smelled.
Six years and that still happens to us fairly often.
It's often hard, always being the youngest wife, the youngest mother. I get tired of the shock every year when people ask how long we've been married, the inevitable "How old are you?!" that comes after. Every. Time.
I'll admit I wonder. What it would have been like to be on my own. Not a daughter in my father's house, not a wife in my husbands house. Just me in my own house. My friends all have stories of things they did in college, places they went, adventures they had. I've had few adventures, gone few places, and all the ones I have were as a couple. I don't have any stories that don't include Josh.
But there's a comfort to it as well. Six years. It's a comfortable number, long enough that we've worked all the kinks out.
Well...except that pesky leaving things in the fridge for the other to enjoy...
Maybe when he said it wouldn't last long he was talking more like 10 years.