For the Love of a Boy

There’s this boy. . .

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He’s 12 now.

He stole my heart from the beginning,

and he’s shown me how it really is possible to love without limits or conditions.

He’s been a delightful companion, and I’ve loved watching him react with curiosity and joy when coming face to face with the wonders of the natural world.

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He helped to brighten his great-grandfather’s last years.

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He has an amazing memory for facts, especially about football and animals.

He understood words and phrases long before it seemed like he should – like the time as a toddler he leaned back in his car seat with his sippy cup and said “Ah, this is the life”.

He brings a healthy appetite and lots of gratitude to the table.

He once used $5 of the little spending money he had at a baseball game to buy a baseball- bat- shaped pen with the Minnesota Twins logo on it for his great-grandmother because he knew she loved baseball and especially the Twins.

Every time he goes on a trip he brings gifts to people.  I’ll cherish my sea turtle, coral, fox, loon, and owl as long as I live.

So, what do I wish for him, this grandson of mine?

That this boy who stole my heart on the day he was born will always know how to follow his  – that he won’t take too many side trips just because he is unable to trust his own heart and listens to other voices instead.  And that any side trips he takes don’t take him too far away from his true north and his place in the world.

That he never despises the day of small things – that he learns that small things like please, thank you, and I’m sorry, saving money a little at a time, treating the young, the frail, and the elderly with small acts of kindness and respect, and being honest even in the small things will pay off in big ways in the long run.

That he realize that siblings should be appreciated because they’ll always be family.  That he would be the kind of big brother role model that he can be proud to look back on.

That he realize that girls and women are not to be feared (well, maybe a little), belittled, or taken advantage of but respected and treated as equals with maybe a little extra measure of kindness and tenderness when they need it the most.

That he realize that in conflict there are times to move into the thick of it, not with fists and loud, hateful words, but always with respect for the other and a willingness to consider other opinions. That there are times for strength and tenacity, especially when defending the defenseless or when defending the truth and there are times for walking away because this conflict is not his conflict.

That he would stay humble – proud of his accomplishments and growth, but realizing that he could not have done it all alone and many people and circumstances go into success.  That he would recognize the hand of God throughout his life.

That he will be able to admit when he’s wrong or has made a mistake, make amends, and move on.

That he will not be afraid to feel his feelings, but will not let his feelings rule him. That he will understand that his thoughts create his feelings, and thoughts can always be changed.

That he will understand that happiness comes from a combination of things – making up your mind to be happy, serving other people, putting people before things, being true to yourself, working hard – and that days of sadness, grief, and loneliness will come and can teach him a lot about himself but they will not last forever.

That he will realize that his body and mind are gifts to be appreciated and cared for because they will be used throughout his life to get things done, meet challenges, carry him where he needs to go, and help him enjoy true pleasure.

I wish for him fun, friendship, love, happiness, the satisfaction of a job well done, and respect.  I wish for him many bright, sunny days and enough dark, cloudy, and even stormy ones to keep him on the right path with empathy and compassion for others and appreciation for the good in life.

I wish that even when I am long gone, the memories of our times together, any little bits of wisdom he might have picked up, and the bond and  love we have shared will remain with him.

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