September 03, 2009
Four years ago, With-a-Why made me a lanyard with red and blue boondoggle. I’ve had it on my keychain ever since. Every time I pick up my keys, I glance at the bright colours and think of my youngest son.
This morning, a friend put a link on facebook to a youtube clip of poet Billy Collins reading his poem “The Lanyard.” (Go ahead, click on the link and listen to the poem. Then come back and read the rest of the post.)
Tonight when I was watching the clip, With-a-Why came into my room to see what I was listening to. He’s got one evening in which to do an entire summer’s worth of homework so of course he was looking for ways to procrastinate. He’d already asked for my help, and I’d refused.
“Yeah, I read Huck Finn in grad school,” I told him. “But I’ve got nothing to say about it.” (Lest this makes me sound mean, I should add that if he was the kind of kid who honestly needed some help, I would have helped him. But he’s completely capable of doing the work on his own.)
With-a-Why climbed onto the bed, snuggling up against me. I shifted my laptop to make room for him, and we watched the video clip together. He smiled during the poem, but said nothing.
I asked, “Did you like the poem?”
He said, “I think you should help me with this stupid writing assignment.”
He put an arm around me, his head rubbing against my shoulder affectionately.
“After all, I did give you a lanyard.”
Posted by jo(e)