Tag Archiv: manhood

What the flies and I hear

photo and fly compliments of morguefile. None of ours would sign a photo release.

photo and fly compliments of morguefile. None of ours would sign a photo release.

Boy one is taller than the rest of us and hoping to grow more. Looming manhood seems so inevitable, unstoppable and near that I forget how much he is still a boy. The moments he reminds me are treasures. His boyhood feels like a work of art, an exquisite castle carved in sand with the waves about to reach shore.

As noted before, this son was born with a serious approach to life. All realizations are immense. All perceptions of reality are carried with the weight of unquestionable truth. All thoughts, developing or otherwise, are generously shared. The boy who doesn’t joke had this to say last week.

Did I tell you what I have Girl one doing to help me with chores these days? he asked. Well, I think it’s really helping, he said. It’s helping Girl one, but I think it’s helping Misty too. Girl one is reading to her. Every night. She brings a book out to the barn, sits on the rail and reads. Misty loves it. I mean, I don’t think she understands the story, but she hears Girl one’s voice. She feels loved.

There was the smallest question in his voice. A tiny part of him not 100% sure but what the pony might understand at least a little of the story.

The waves are rolling in to cover up the castles but they’re not here yet. He’s taught himself to juggle. Eggs, he confessed are calling his name. How many might he have and where could he practice?

Girl two invited me to play hangman but there was a twist, invented she explained by Girl one who had decided that hangman made no sense. How would you hang a person one body part at a time? she said when I asked. I’d never considered the question but her solution was delightful. Do yourself a favor and try this version of hangman sometime this weekend.

  1. Get a pencil, and eraser and a pen (pen is optional)
  2. Use only a pencil to draw a full body stick figure hanging from the gallows
  3. Use pen to draw a shark with open mouth and teeth below the body.
  4. Choose word or phrase and begin game.
  5. For every missed letter, erase one body part from the stick figure. Redraw the body part inside the mouth of the shark (preferably with pen for extra drama). Losing players may watch themselves be eaten bite by delicious bite.


The only thing the flies missed seeing was the lawn. Boy two mowed for me. Walking by the next day I saw patches missed all over the place. He doesn’t drink. What had he been thinking? I looked again. All thirty or so unmowed intermittent grass patches were full of daisies. My artist hadn’t missed them, he had seen them!

Boy Man


Tucked in among the surprises of the past week was a gift from Boy one. Bold, cocky boy with the never ending words was quiet, almost bashful coming into the room.

I made something for you, he said.

The last thing he made me was a sign for Christmas two years ago. Somehow in the chaos of Christmas, it was lost before it ever made it to my door. I’m  not a thing person really, but over that I could still cry.

Here, he said. He handed me a string of beads on a piece of yarn. On one end I detected a lopsided cross. I twisted it around seeing how to make the cross lie flat and wondered if my head would fit inside the circle.

It’s a rosary, he said looking down. I made it for you, then I kept it for a while but I thought today maybe I should give it to you. I don’t make things very much. Not like the other kids.

I looked with curiosity through plastic beads to the boy. Sometimes with pride, sometimes with frustration, still for months upon months I have been seeing a young man in his gangly limbs and brooding eyes. All that wing flapping and splashing makes it hard to remember the boy inside it all, but I touched the beads and there he was. The boy he always has been. The boy we all are.

We visited my mother’s grave a few days ago. We took things the kids had made and decorated it. Sang a song, said some prayers, and had a snack. The kids didn’t like it that we undecorated before we left. My explanations about cemetery rules didn’t satisfy so I switched to theories about time.

Really smart people say it doesn’t exist, I said. Not like we think it does with past, present and future. If your treasures were here as a gift today, they’re always here now, even if we take them.

Maybe this is how we grow old without ever ceasing to be the child we were. However it works, I have translucent beads on multicoloured yarn between crooked knots from the boy who is taller than me, to remind me that it’s true. That for all our dreams of manhood, we pray and hope and love with the heart of a child.

In my pocket my fingers touch the beads softly. If I could hold on to the gift of this picture, with what gentleness could I see the world?

And if not that, at least the grace to hold this imageof my son.