Once Upon a Hat

On Friday morning, Wil sat on his bedroom floor rifling through his bin of hats. He couldn’t decide which one.

“Well, no hat then!” Wil announced to himself. 

“Do you need some help, Wil?” I asked.

“No.” I sat down next to him and laid his hats on the floor. He turned them all down.  We had to leave for school in 10 minutes. 

Wil had a Manchester shirt on so my best guess was he wanted a Manchester hat too. I presented his Manchester hats to him but he turned them all down. I convinced him to get off the floor, even without a hat, which was a good sign. 

A few months ago when Wil couldn’t decide on a hat, he stayed on the floor. I told him I was taking his sisters to school so they wouldn’t be late and I’d be back to get him. When I returned, he was seated on the porch step with a hat and backpack on. I was proud of him for turning his day around. 

On this Friday morning, however, when Wil stood up he fled the house without a hat or backpack. Katherine dashed after him. I grabbed Wil’s Manchester hats, his backpack, and flew out the door behind them.

I found Katherine standing in the dog kennel which is attached to the side of our garage. Wil was attempting to climb through the dog door which would have been hilarious to all of us, if we hadn’t been in a time crunch. 

“Silly Wil,” I said. “Woody is going to be jealous of you using his door. Come on, you don’t want to be late to see Ms. Campbell, do you?”

“Kristi Campbell!” Wil jumped out of the dog door and exited the kennel as he said his paraprofessional’s name. Then he stood unmoving in the driveway ­— two steps forward and one un-moving step is still a step forward in our book.

I walked behind him, put my hands on his waist and said, “Chugga-chugga choo-choo!” As I pushed him forward, he leaned back in resistance, yet kept putting one foot in front of the other. When we reached the car, Katherine opened his door but he stood firm by it. 

“All aboard,” I said. I bent his head down and kind of hoisted him into the car. He laid on his stomach with his legs hanging out. At this point his resistance was becoming a game. I was in part thankful for that, as I knew he was pulling out of his funk. But I was also running out of patience as he was in jeopardy of making his sisters late for school, which wasn’t fair to them. 

Elizabeth was in the back seat with Wil and talked him into sitting up straight and putting his backpack and seatbelt on. 

“Hey, Wil,” Elizabeth said looking at the Manchester hats I threw in the car, “that Manchester visor is mine.”

“No, my visor,” Wil said. They bantered back and forth. I knew what Elizabeth was doing. Sure enough, Wil chose the Manchester visor.

I reached my arm over the seat and splayed my hand. “Give me a turkey, Wil. You turned it around! Now you are going to have a great day.” He fist bumped my open palm. “And how about those sisters of yours? They are awesome.”

“They are bratties.” Wil said and laughed.

“No, you’re bratty,” Elizabeth said and playfully nudged Wil. (Typical sibling banter is as refreshing as it gets when life isn’t feeling so typical.)

By some miracle, we all made it to the school with 90 seconds to spare and in good spirits.

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that throw us off track, the simplest things that place us back on track, and the simplest things that we appreciate most. 

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