“I want to play Rock ‘em, Sock ’em Robots! Can’t we put it together now?” a little boys many years ago pleaded.
Momma sent the boy’s brother and two sisters toddling back to bed. All four children had woken her up and she had let them enjoy a very early opening of Santa’s deliveries. She wanted to march off to bed behind them. Looking outside, Momma knew the sun would soon be up and she would have to be up with it. Looking down, the gentle eyes of her middle son met hers and she gave in.
With only the glow of Christmas lights visible from the front window, the pair sat down at the kitchen table. Together they pulled piece after piece from its box. After wrestling a long time to put the toy together, they finally placed the robot boxing figures on their platforms and began to duke it out. The fighters jabbed and cut with molded arms formed like steel beams and bolts. Mother verses son, fighter verses fighter. Back and forth the two fought, trying to stay quiet as they bopped each other’s heads off!
Oh! Yow! Mom! You knocked my block off!
Well, son you can’t win ‘em all!
In a house of four children quiet, what the talk shows and magazines call ‘one on one’, time was a hot commodity. Between sports, school, housework, feeding and putting to bed, Momma didn’t always have much time. It was the late 1960’s and she didn’t have the convienence of a microwave to fix the gang a quick meal or a cell phone to keep up with where everyone was. Most days the laundry got hung out on a clothes line, not tossed in an energy saving machine. Biscuits rolled off Momma’s fingers doughy and ready to bake, not frozen, dropping like rocks out of a plastic resealable bag.
It was a Christmas in the 1990’s that my husband shared this wonderful Christmas story with our children. He told them about waking up in the middle of one Christmas Eve night and his Momma, their Maw Maw, had let the kids open up all their gifts even though it was still dark outside. He wanted to play that fighting game right then, he just couldn’t wait. He remembered so many pieces on the kitchen table. It took a long time to get it together. With everyone else asleep, just the two of them, up late at night, they fought and fought.
With a light in his eyes he told the children he, just at that moment as a dad himself, realized how special that night had been. Putting together the jumbled pieces, playing without interruption, finally getting coaxed back to bed allowing his momma maybe an hour of sleep before everyone else was up and, of course, hungry.
So sweet was the memory he retold it later that day at his mother’s home. Momma Toole laughed until she cried thinking about how that toy had so many parts she didn’t think they’d ever get it together.
She got five extra big hugs that day.
One from a son who had gained an extra appreciation of his mother a little more that day.
Four more hugs from his young family who thanked her, twenty years later, for staying up late one night to make a little toy and a ton of memories.