My two sons are best friends. This is a bit unusual I suppose, you'd think they'd rather be with boys from school or the neighborhood but whenever they have free time they're usually together and finding ways to get into trouble.
As an example, Spencer and David went outside to play basketball in the driveway last week and it wasn't until I happened to be in their bedroom looking down on them from the window that I saw Spencer, age 10, gracefully and artfully poised on top of the basketball hoop doing a Karate Kid move. Shall I repeat that? He was standing on top of the basketball hoop, his feet on the metal rim, eight feet above the asphalt, helping David's balls to swoosh. You don't see that mentioned in your homeowner's insurance do you?
Of course my reaction was to bang on the window, squawking like a mother hen, to get Spencer's attention and tell him to hike his white fanny down from there, but the noise startled him and I nearly knocked him off his perch with my frantic gestures.
My own younger brothers--think Bo and Luke Duke meet Grizzly Adams--weren't much better, they were always getting into trouble, pulling all-night fishing trips and generally doing their best to test out Mom and Dad's lifetime insurance benefits cap. Usually I shook my head and ignored their antics but now, twenty years later, it's coming back to haunt me because my own sons think their uncles--particularly their Uncle Luke--are the coolest thing ever. This is probably because Luke hasn't quite hit the age of child-rearing soberness that seems to set in with the arrival of dirty diapers.
Yes, they love Uncle Luke--the same one who guides their education in how to beat the midway games at the carnival, who takes them fishing and gives them knives for Christmas (yea, THAT was a good idea).
Well last week my Mom showed up with a gift for Spencer and David from their uncle. He'd called from the east coast and asked her to dig out of the basement his old kendo swords as a gift for my two young Jedis. Something along the lines of "It's your uncle's kendo sword. This is the weapon of a Really Cool Karate Guy. Not as clumsy and random as whacking at someone with a regular stick, but an elegant weapon for a more civilized age" (if you'll allow me a modified Star Wars quote).
What is a kendo sword you ask? Well my brothers took karate or tae kwon do or whatever it was for years and had these long bamboo sword-thingies that they used to spar with. When I brought Andrew home that first time to meet the family (luckily we were actually freshly married so he couldn't back out) Dan and Luke immediately ran up to their new brother in-law and asked if he wanted to sword fight. Being the New Guy and not to be intimidated by a couple of teenagers Andrew agreed and went outside to prove his manhood to his new in-laws.
They must have had a serious game of Highlander going because a few minutes later Andrew came inside sporting a suspicious bloody lump on the forehead from his introduction. So naturally knowing that through the Great Circle of Life my own boys would now be the proud owners of these same two swords, the swords that had nearly cost my dear husband his dignity and his head, was a thrilling discovery.
But the boys love them. They whack and smack and attack until someone gets hurt (usually David) then take a break and come back for more action later. I've tried to teach them some safety rules on distance, eye contact and aim but inevitably they forget as they get more and more worked up over practicing their "skills."
Here's hoping they both survive to adulthood. At least it's comforting to know their uncles did. And for the record, I'm stockpiling a whole arsenal of gifts to present to Luke's future children: loud beeping toys, pen knives, fish hooks, sulfuric acid, handguns--it's all fair game.
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Technorati tags: martial arts, karate, sword fighting, kendo, parenting