On Saturday, my six-year-old and I went for a big walk with Charlotte in her wrap. The day was gorgeous but really hot. Mid-90s, high humidity. My silly boy insisted upon wearing long jeans and a long sleeved navy blue shirt along with his superhero cape (a favorite Christmas gift made by Aunt Kristy). While I strongly recommended a cooler ensemble, the boy insisted that that this was his super suit. Mama lost.
We watched the sailboats on the lake (see Sunday’s post). We watched some really crazy squirrels run up and down the trees and chase each other through curtains of Spanish moss. We marveled at the oak trees that don’t look at all like oak trees and produce tiny acorns.
We found the shells of fresh water clams.
After walking a bit, I sat in the shade while Charlotte napped and her busy brother chased butterflies (He caught one!) and practiced his superhero moves. He threw himself into the air and let himself fall and tumble. While I cringed at the inevitable impact, he never hesitated. A few minutes of watching the jump-crash-roll left me finally able to relax and enjoy how unencumbered he was in those moments. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I am constantly scolding and reminding. Don’t jump on the couch. Don’t leave your socks in the livingroom. Don’t blow bubbles in your milk. Don’t be so rough. Don’t be so loud. What a drag. During our forty-five minute outing, I remembered why raising this little boy is so much fun. He doesn’t worry that people raise their eyebrows at the cape. He doesn’t mind that winter clothes leave him with fat drips of sweat coursing down his sweet cheeks. In fact, as we strolled home, he proudly said, “I caught a sweat. That’s good!” He is not at all concerned that he’ll have bruises on his elbows and knees from all those carefree collisions with the ground. He doesn’t think about the bug bites that will certainly come from flopping in the long grass and staying there looking up at the clouds. I soaked in his joy, his freedom, his boyhood. I made a promise to say “no” when it matters, and whenever possible, let him be.