December 29, 2011

Eleven

New toy

I was just leaving the house with Little Biker Boy to buy him a birthday present — I’d decided to let him pick out his own present this year — when we discovered that freezing rain had sealed the car shut. I tried every door, but none of them would budge.

“This is terrible!” Little Biker Boy screamed. He ran around and around the car, periodically stopping to kick the metal. Kicking the car did no good whatsoever, especially since he wasn’t even kicking at the doors, but it served to help vent his anger.

Little Biker Boy isn't a patient kid even on his best days, and he’d been having a bad week. Vacations are tough for him. School is a safe place with a consistent routine, filled with teachers and counselors who know how to handle him. A week in his mother’s apartment left him filled with frustration and anger, two emotions he does not handle well.

“Why did you let Shaggy Hair Boy take your car?” he yelled. “Now we can’t go to the store!” He yanked on the door handle, but it didn’t move.

I’ve had frozen car doors before, and I knew we’d get them open eventually. In my old station wagon, I used to just open the hatch in the back and crawl to the front. I tried to think of what I could use to thaw the locks out. A hair dryer and an extension cord might work, if we owned a hair dryer, which we don’t.

The cold wind whipped my hair into my face. I didn’t have the energy to handle both Little Biker Boy and the frozen locks. I brought him back into the warm house.

Boy in Black was already putting on his boots and coat. “I don’t care what you have to do,” I muttered to him. “Just get the doors open.”

It was a bad start to the afternoon, but thankfully, Boy in Black was able to pry open a door and get the car started. Our first stop was the pizza place. “It’s our tradition,” Little Biker Boy said. I kept the car running so that the doors would thaw, while he went in to buy a couple slices of pizza, and we sat in the warm car, eating and talking. Once he’d told me about his week and calmed down, we went to the toy aisle of a big store, where he debated for a long time before choosing a remote control car, some plastic wrestling figures, and a basketball.

By the time we returned to the house, his mood was calmer. I built a fire while he tested his car out in the living room, the hall, and then outside in the yard. It was dark before I said to him, finally, “I have to take you home now.”

He looked out into the driveway hopefully. “Maybe the doors will be frozen shut, and I’ll have to stay here.”

15 comments:

Rana said...

That last bit is just heartbreaking.

Kendra said...

This kid is so incredibly lucky to have you. You are amazing.

patrick said...

Two Ibid.s from me.

Wordsmith said...

These posts are so touching. Thank you for sharing. You are making such an impact on his life.

liz said...

What they all said.

ChrisinNY said...

Yes- even though I often tear up at this poor kid who has had to deal with a lot, I am so grateful that you continue to share his story with us. If praying makes a difference, then he is luckier than many because we are praying hard for his ability to overcome his challenges.

Kyla said...

Aww, I kind of hope the doors were stuck, too.

I think of him as being little...but he's got almost a year and a half on BubTar.

Lorianne said...

As always, your Little Biker Boy posts are simultaneously sweet and heart-breaking. The last bit, as Rana said, just kills me.

Melissa Sarno said...

Oh my gosh, Joe, that last line just about broke my heart. I'm so glad he can be safe with you for a time. I'm in love with this kid through your posts.

susan said...

What they all said. I often wonder about how Little Biker Boy is doing, and I'm glad for the occasional--if heartbreaking--update. and this reminds me, too, just how much kindness we need in the world.

kathy a. said...

poor guy. and i don't mean the lack of money; he so badly needs constancy and listening and caring in his life. and traditions.

he's still a pre-teen, but it's a little harder to provide just plain caring when a bigger kid feels overwhelmed. things must get pent up, too, particularly during these "vacation" times. your own kids are such great models; i love how they pitch in.

Zhoen said...

How I felt every time I had to go home from visiting either of my dearest aunts.

sciwo said...

I'm always glad for the updates on Little Biker Boy, but I often find myself wondering about Ponytail. Do you ever hear anything of her? (I'm almost afraid to know.)

jo(e) said...

I haven't seen Ponytail since June, although I did talk to her on the phone once when she was visiting her mother. She lives with her father a few towns over. Little Biker Boy only sees her once in a while. Her father is an abusive man; it's not a good situation. I wish I had better news.

TC said...

I cry almost every time you write about these kids...sadness and gratitude that, Little Biker Boy, at least, has you. Today, more tears than usual as I realized that LBB is within weeks of my own son's age; he'll turn 11 at the end of this month. There but for the grace...