I have three children. They are all boys, and they are all different.
I spend nearly every day, all day with the youngest. He is just 6 and goes to kindergarten for two point five hours per day. The rest of the time, he is my buddy. We go to lunch. We ride our bikes. We do laundry. We have plenty of one on one time and I feel certain he is getting enough of my attention.
My oldest is teetering on the edge of tween and teen at the age of 11. Truth be told, he is acting more like a teenager every day. Eye rolling, limit testing, being too cool for everything and everyone. But each night, I enter his room, plop down on his bed and we talk. He saves topics for us to discuss during these chat sessions. Sometimes, he will say, “Mom, I have a topic for tonight…remind me. Keywords: the librarian is missing an ear.”
Or, something to that effect.
We have a television show we love to watch together too, and it’s something we look forward to doing and discussing later. I believe this is precious time now because soon, he probably won’t want me in his room at night. Soon, he will pull away from me as I’m told boys do. I am soaking this up.
Where does this leave me with the middle child? It seems there is always someone else around when I try to talk to him. His time is always shared. I used to call him my soft spot until Kelly D. mentioned it might make the other two feel bad, but there is still something about this boy that I can’t put my finger on. He just owns me. His expressions, his laugh, his tender heart. I don’t know what it is. But I’m putty in his hands. My affection notwithstanding, I think he’s been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to one on one time. It’s bothered me so much in the past months, so I sat him down and asked him to help me think of things we might like to do together, just the two of us. We came up with the idea of having our own exclusive book club since we both love to read. It has been wonderful. We meet together in the living room every other night to discuss what we have read. These conversations have been little gems! Good grief, my boy is bright. We talk about the characters, we take turns telling things we have learned about them. He’s brave. He works at a zoo. He is good at baseball. We choose a character we are most like and tell why. We talk about our favorite parts. I have gotten to know him so much better from these book club meetings. And, if it is possible, I like him even more for it.
Tonight, during our meeting, he said, “Hey Mom?” (every thing he ever says to me begins this way) “Did you ever think what it would be like to be a tree?”
I told him no, that I hadn’t. We both sat in silence for a minute or so pondering this question.
I finally said, “I think I might like it. To be strong. To be silent. To feel the wind all day long and only concentrate on growing. To feel my roots digging slowly in the ground. And to be just still.”
“Yeah”, he said. “Me too.”