Some of the happiest times ever.
I’ve known him since he was a baby, and given my fondness for kids as the oldest of six children, I always played with him whenever I saw him. But then one day, I was in the kitchen and heard him calling my name. I looked out and saw him sitting on our fence. I went outside, and he immediately smiled and yelled, “Hi! I climbed the tree now. See. Can I come play at your house?”
That started a string of spontaneous interactions. He’d climb the tree, call my name, and ask to come over. After making sure his mother knew, he would come over, and we’d have our fun. Watching clouds and telling each other what we saw. He would see an angel. I would see a dragon. We’d lay on the blanket in the sun, and he’d just roll next to me and hug me. Magic. Happiness.
I haven’t seen him as much lately since he’s been going to school, and well, I was releasing three books in three months.
This little boy’s mother just told me something special this week. She said her son really loved me, and he didn’t take a shine to a lot of people. He was really unhappy, she said, and she didn’t know why. I had been seeing that in the last six months too, and it made me sad.
I told her I’d be delighted to have a play date with him. I thought maybe I could help him work through whatever was making him unhappy while simply being present with him and playing with him. He in turn could help me be more playful and have a little more spontaneous fun. I mean, my girlfriends and I don’t lay on blankets in the sun and talk about what shapes we see in the clouds. We have a glass of wine over a nice meal and talk about men, children, career, and our continued self discovery.
I have a little boy in my Dare Valley series named Keith who reminds me a lot of my neighbor boy. He’s 7-years-old, and maybe unconsciously I based a little of him after the boy behind my house. They both possess that same childlike wonder at the world, playing imaginary games and dressing up like sheriffs or Batman. They are wise beyond their years at times and feeling their way through the world, which sometimes feels a bit rough to them.
I admire these little boys–real and fiction–because they teach me so much and make me so happy.
When’s the last time you had a kid make your day by seeing the gift in you? And when was the last time you realized a kid was teaching you something?
Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net