This past Saturday, Jamie and Jack took off early for a morning of yard sale-ing. Three hours later, Jack walked in the house with the Root Beer Kit in hand. “Look what I bought!”
My response: “Keep or sell?” (Not an uncommon question in our home.)
My insides rolled as I imagined the box sitting in a corner for the next week or month with the rest of the “keeps”. But I had learned to hold my tongue. He was excited, and I would eventually find a home for it at the top of a cabinet later in the week when he had forgotten about it.
I set about my cleaning, vacuuming, dish washing, and general house preparation for the next day’s company, when suddenly I heard, “Mom, do we have a gallon jug? If not, it’s okay, I’ll use something else.”
Gallon jug? That means liquid. Something else?
I looked back to respond, only to see the components of the root beer kit–packets, bottles, stickers–all spread across our dining table.
And so it began . . .
I stopped what I was doing . . . let’s be honest, my original intention was to prevent a catastrophic mess that I would later clean up along with the rest of my unclean house. We followed the directions; sterilized the bottles, caps, and tools; measured; funneled; and dissolved. We talked about measurements, solutions, and chemical reactions–this homeschool momma was feeling the win!
But then he said it, and I realized what was truly happening. “Mom, I’m glad we’re doing this together.” My vacuum sat motionless in the middle of the living room, the dishes had mysteriously reappeared in my sink, wet clothes were most likely molding in the washer, and the second floor of my house remained “dirty”, but we were doing this together.
I had put my own self-designed agenda on hold to make root beer–to not just spend time with my son (I’m a homeschool mom, I literally sit beside my son for two to three hours a day! We are together all the time!), but to do exactly what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it . . . I engaged directly in his moment, his purchase, his imagination. I was there, walking him through the details of his $5 yard sale find.
Normally, I would have responded with “maybe later” or “let me finish”. But who knows what he had been dreaming up as he rode home that day with the kit in his lap. Whatever it was, I was welcomed into it–into that moment of excitment, curiosity, and what-if. If I had waited, the moment might have been gone, forgotten about, and left to collect dust with the Easy Bake Oven.
We tightened the lids, applied the labels, and stashed our concoctions in a dark place to carbonate. I finished cleaning the house; he went outside to play. Our home would stay that unrealistically sparkly for a day, but the memory of making root beer would last our lifetime.
Friends, stop what you’re doing, and make root beer or sand castles, or mud pies, or pillow forts . . .
A few days later . . . the aforementioned project has yet to carbonate and has an unpleasant yeasty aroma. While I did let Jack taste his victory, a taste is all he will get. I fear whatever we have done might intoxicate a small child.