Mailbox Wars

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A daily war breaks out in our entryway each day around noon.

Sometime around lunch, someone decides it is time to check the mail. One person cannot check the mail, but a series of battles happen to determine whose privilege it is to open the front door, the mailbox door and carry the mail.

A pattering of four little feet clamor to the door knob, where fingers grab fiercely. This is the first battle. Today, Baby has won the doorknob grip. He is however, sock-footed. I look down and foresee not a cold from unsuitable clothing, but another pair of dirty socks that will always be dirty even after a hundred washings.


The lack of proper footwear, or even pants for that matter, has not occurred to him. And it likely won't for a few more years, because his older brother by two years, is also underdressed for the mailbox trip. Boo has conceded to Baby the Battle of the Front Door and has now moved on to the fight for the mailbox door.

Both boys jog across the stiff yellow winter lawn in a line to the box. Even though it is in every way a battle, Baby must jump off the height of the lawn and onto the inches lower side walk. It is a cliff he must dive, no matter the importance of the trip.

This jump has cost Baby the second battle, as Boo arrives at the box first.

Boo is a good boy. He remembers the rules that come with the privilege of Checking the Mail. Rule #1: Stay out of the road. There is no second rule. I am watching from the warm doorway, in my own socked-feet, where I can yell Rule #1 if I need to. But I haven't needed to for longer than I can remember. From the side of the mailbox, Boo stands on his bare tip-toes and twists at the waist to peer into the box opening.

On good days, easy days, the post office has rubber banded our bundle of mail. On the other days, it is inevitable that the boys will have a job of chasing dropped mail on the trip back to the house. Today is a good day. Boo pulls out the banded bundle. Tucking it under his right arm, he uses his left to give a good push to the door. It is a tricky door and will need a few more 4 year old shoves before it is sufficiently shut.

Now is when the hand to hand conflict breaks out. It is the triumph of the day to carry the mail across the doorway. Both boys are in every sense aware that the winner of this battle has won the war. Boo eyes the doorway, me, then his brother out the periphery. At the sight of the former, his right elbow and the bundle turn into a wing spread out to protect his path to the door.

Both boys stay on course for the doorway as Baby dips his shoulder to prepare for a side tackle. They zig-zag for a few feet back and forth into each other. Someone lets out a quick cry, another a whine of protest. But the battle is not over until I am reached and the doorway is crossed.

And I watch. I enjoy the show as much the hand delivery service.

There is not a lone winner day after day. If Baby wins, he tells me to sit on the stairs in the front hallway where we sat the first time he won. And on the stairs is where we open each piece of mail and sort into keep and toss piles. He happily hops with the toss pile to the trash to complete the event.

When Boo wins, he may ask to open one piece "for him." I give him a credit card offer or a competitor's insurance quote. He'll take his mail to the couch and open it by himself. I'll pick up the thirty pieces of the ripped-into-envelope later, once I've sorted the other mail by myself.

And I know someday the wars will end. It already has lost one contender, an older sister. And someday, without warning, the war between the brothers will not be fought. The boys will have something else they'd rather do. Something more important. And I will have to put on my shoes and get the mail myself.

Or ask Mr. Smarty to bring it to me on his way in from work.

10 Creative People Had This To Say:

Jenilee said...

what a great way to look at a daily squabble! you are so right... one day they won't be amused by getting the mail! oh... we will miss these days, won't we?

Braley Mama said...

You are a great story teller!!!!How fun to get the mail for mama!

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

When my older children were little we were on a 300 acre dairy farm in NZ and it was quite a long walk to the mailbox - too far to send my children by themselves so I had to go too. It was so disappointing to find no mail and parcels were always brought up to the house by the mailman. I did read about one mom who occasionally sent her own children a little surprise package in the mail - just a bright card with stickers, that sort of thing with a message saying they were loved. I thought this was such a sweet idea.

Teri Lynne Underwood said...

I love this ... such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing with us! {Casiday said thank you for the bday wishes ... and she thinks your blog is prettier than mine!}

kate said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Rob S said...

Cute, cute, cute. I love em!

christygirl said...

Once again I have commented as my husband. Not that Rob doesn't love your kids, but the sentiment was from me, of course.

Rachel said...

I agree with the other gals, you are a great story teller. Me? Not so much.

I totally laughed out loud at your comment on my blog.. You and all your advise.. :) Made my day!


Miss Meliss said...

awww that is just TOO SWEET!!! :D love it. what a great memory. :) i hope you have taken pics of this...

big hugs,

Anonymous said...

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