There are few lessons I remember learning as a child. However, an incident when I was 9 remains cemented in my mind, and I have tried to teach my kids the same lesson. The story goes like this…
Upon returning home from church one Sunday afternoon, I was excited to get outside and play with my Star Wars action figures with my best friend who lived catty-corner to me. I quickly ran in the house, undressed, redressed in play clothes, and ran for the front door. My mother passed me in the hallway and said she needed to lay down because she did not feel well. “I hope you feel better,” I said, “I am going to play outside with T.R.
My stepfather reminded me that mom was sick, but allowed me to go play outside. He was a rather short man, shorter than my mom, who was only 5 foot 1 inch. Looking back at my four years with him, I am certain he suffered from cockalorum, always needing to prove himself. The chip on his shoulder seemed to get larger every year.
Anyways, I ran across the street, asked if T.R. could come out and play, and, when he did, we began to run, yell, and pretend that we were Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Together, we had every action figure. Playing with them was our favorite thing to do. As we were sitting down on the sidewalk making machine gun and laser noises, my stepfather was approaching. He looked angry, as he often did when I did something wrong. “Get inside the house right now! You know your mother is laying down and not feeling well!” My playtime only lasted about 10 minutes before I was confined to my room for the rest of the day.
My stepfather’s only explanation to me was that I needed to think of my mother before everything else: “Mom comes first.” You see, this incident occurred during the summertime in south Florida, and our air conditioner wasn’t working. My mom was resting with her bedroom window open, a window which we were playing 100 feet in front of.