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A Boy-full Summer

As fall begins to settle in, I sit here reflecting on a summer that found me sharing the company of a couple of fantastic little guys. It seems so long ago, yet just like yesterday, that my teen-aged son was this young.

My sister was kind enough to visit me with her grandson, Hunter, not quite 2, but with the prowess of a 4-year old. I am surprised he wasn't already tying his own shoelaces! Hunter wanted to do everything himself, and pretty much could. He loved swing sets and seesaws, slides and sandboxes. He loved running and jumping but most of all, he loved swimming. He was at the kiddie pool nearly up to his waist in water, with no water wings and no fear. He would run after kids over twice his age, trying to do exactly what they were doing. When I looked at my sister with a show of concern, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Well, if he falls down, he'll learn." I think of her son, Hunter's dad, who served in the military, a strong and faithful man, with nerves of steel and a heart of gold. Man in Training #1.

Later, my baby sister came to visit with her future husband (now newlyweds!!) and his two children, Norrie (7) and Zev (5). Zev was happy and energetic, always had a story, with our dog, Riley, not far from his side. He loved mermaids and fairies, snowflakes and flowers. He loved running and jumping, but most of all, he loved flying, It warmed my heart to watch as my very tall 13-year old would lift Zev up as he donned butterfly wings, hold him horizontally, and zoom around the house allowing Zev to take flight. I think of Zev's dad, who finds beauty and wonder in rocks and stars, is learning to ride a unicycle and who loves flying on airplanes most of all. Man in Training #2.

I look at my own son, turning into a man right before my eyes. I see a kind young man who puts his friends' and guests' wishes before his own. I see a determined young man who often borders on stubborn. I see a young man who respects his grandfathers and enjoys nothing more that spending time with them, hanging on to every word they say. I think of my husband who is the perfect host, ensuring everyone's comfort, who won't give up until things are as he thinks they should be, who fondly remembers songs his own grandfather sang to him and stories that he shared, and who loves his family more than anything in the world. Man in Training #3.

All these boys are different, as are the fathers that have helped and will continue to help mold their lives. But they are all special and valuable and, in the blink of an eye, as they grow into men, they will bring their own contributions to the world around them. And I smile.

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