That’s What Little Boys Are Made Of

This post is one of the series of my “100 Days of Creativity” challenge. (I got this idea from a blogger on her WordPress site:  I Heart Change.  Check it out here:  http://iheartchange.wordpress.com/ ).  Today is Day 8 and the topic is “Soft”.

The words “soft” and “silence” for me go hand in hand.  Living on my own, I sometimes forget how quiet my life is.  Now that my mornings, my days, my evenings, my nights are consumed for a short time with the presence of my 5 year old nephew, Ben (who is staying here for his “mini-vacation”), I crave the soft, cushy, easy, quiet, lazy (yet very early) mornings where I get to drink coffee, read a book, write in my journal all before I get out of my pajamas.  And at night, after turning off the TV or the computer, washing my face and changing into my soft, worn T-Shirt and stretched out yoga pants, I pick up a book or my journal and decompress and reflect on my day.  It’s amazing how much I’ve taken for granted that soft takeoff and soft landing that bookends my entire day.

Me, Ben & his puppy Lucy
Me, Ben & his puppy Lucy

Instead, my days have been filled with trying to entertain a sweet, adorable, head-strong, determined 5 year old.  He wakes up before 7 a.m. and we’re “on the go” before 8 a.m.  Our mornings are whirlwinds filled with feeding the cat and dog, eating breakfast (where I slurp down coffee, barely enjoying the flavor), walking/riding the 2 mile bike trail by my house and looking at and picking up bugs along the way.  Then, we’re out of the house to run errands or do some type of fun activity so as to “shake loose the crazies” (i.e., pent-up energy) of a boy.  “Soft” days are not part of the routine.  Instead, I am cajoling him to do something, telling him it’s not Ok to “punch flies and other things,” throw the frisbee into the thicket behind my house, chase the dog and cat with a toy, nor bring snails and beetles into the house.

As I sit in the evening and watch a 3rd episode of Spongebob Squarepants with him while he eats an ice cream sandwich, I crave a few rerun episodes of “Castle” or “The Mentalist” while I curl up on my couch with my soft blanket draped over me and my dog and cat cuddled next to me.  I smile at him as he follows me around the house while I pick up the tornado path he and I caused earlier in the day.  I sigh and wish I could sit down, take down my hair and brush the course knots out until they relax and feel like a puffy cottonball (and look like it too).  I pass by my room and see the fluffy goose down pillows on my bed and wish to God my head was sinking into them (or that he would even take a nap while I just hug one to me and sit in silence).  Instead, I play “crash ’em up” with the toy dump truck and digger or follow him outside and get bit up by mosquitos when we play kickball or frisbee in my backyard.  I don’t know if my blouse is covered in sweat or if it is from the waterguns we have let loose on one another or if that’s my underarms that are stinking up the couch or his smelly feet (probably a combination of both).

Mailing the bills at the Post Office
Mailing the bills at the Post Office

Now that it’s late at night and he is safely tucked away and in a deep sleep in the spare bedroom, I am reflecting on the little nursery rhyme that goes: “What are little boys made of?  Snips and snails and puppy dog tails – that’s what little boys are made of.”  Nothing in that poem is “soft, sweet or cuddly.”  And though part of that is true, I sometimes think we forget that a boy’s sweetness rests in the unprovoked tenderness of picking up those snails, beetles, and roly-poly bugs out of the street and putting them in flower beds so they can “have a better life.”  Or that his softness resides in his first time standing in line at a post office to mail the bills while you stand in the lobby and watch as he visits, smiles and laughs with other customers, shakes the postman’s hand and smiles and puffs out his chest as he walks away.  His softness reveals itself when you’re finally sitting on the couch and you’re wearing your soft t-shirt and comfy yoga pants, you can’t help but smile as he sings a sweet song while taking a bath.  And, your heart melts when he asks you if you’re “happy in your heart” and you think to yourself, “Yes.  I am,” and you set down your coffee and you put down your book and you throw your hair back in a ponytail and you walk out the door with him and start your day in search of snails, beetles and roly-poly bugs.

Our morning trek begins. . .
Our morning trek begins. . .
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