Smelly Socks: A difference of opinion
Over the weekend, Austin had a friend over to our house for a sleepover. After a very, very long night of just being "rowdy boys," the next morning they groggily dragged themselves up and did nearly everything that was available for them to do. They played video games, texted girls on their phones, wrestled, ate and terrorized the dogs and cats.
I witnessed the grabbing of various bats and baseballs to see who could hit the baseballs farther into the field and the unlucky one who would go and retrieve them. They played many a mean game of one-on-one basketball and participated in general "ranch exploring." Soon enough, they were completely bored, and simply sitting still and talking is not something that any 12-year-old boy prefers to do.
For his part, my 9-year-old son, Jamison, had been the typical little brother by wanting to play with his older brother and his older brother's friend. In a child's mind, somehow your brother's friends are always way cooler than your own friends. This particular friend of Austin's is very considerate with a certain little blonde-haired tagalong. So, against Austin's multiple protests, Jamison was right there in the middle of everything the older boys were doing. You couldn't convince him that he wasn't as fast as they were or that their sixth-grade jokes were over his third-grade head. My attempts to distract Jamison to give Austin and his friend some time by themselves failed as Jamison was intent on sticking right with the big boys.
A trip to civilization seemed to be in order. When the idea was suggested, all of the boys jumped at the chance to go to a car show that a neighboring town was having for the benefit of the area Boy Scouts. Our neighbor was showing his car in the show, and John and my dad - lovingly dubbed "Popsy" by my boys - are both involved in this neighbor's car club.
The weather was perfect - sunny and bright but not hot, just comfortable and beautiful. John and I let the boys loose to go around and look at all of the various cars with strict instructions to not, under any circumstances, touch the cars. The instructions were understood, and they were off while John and I sat and visited with our neighbors and fellow car enthusiasts.
Austin and his friend gravitated to the flashy and fast-looking cars. The brighter the colors and the faster it appeared, the wider and more excited the boys' eyes became. Although I couldn't hear every word they were saying, their expressions revealed their approval and appreciation for what they saw. After the boys had been scouting cars for a while, they came and grabbed us to show us their picks as the "most truly awesome" and "outright cool" cars ever. Austin even referred to one car as "a beast," which I am guessing is a good thing.
Sheepishly, Jamison came up behind us and grabbed our hands. He mentioned that he really needed to show us something real important. He explained that he had found it - the most perfect car he had ever seen. I have never seen Jamison so in love before, and I couldn't wait to see the speed machine that enamored him so. He stopped in front of a very shiny and brightly painted blue pickup truck. The object of his desire was a 1940s Chevrolet pickup.
In my child's eyes, this was the machine of his dreams. He explained that it was fast looking and painted "cool and bright," but most importantly, it had plenty of space in the back for all of his tools. I should explain that since birth Jamison has had a love of tools. His Popsy and Mimi gave him a red toolbox filled with "real tools" one Christmas, and he jumped with joy, squealed and hugged their necks so tight that each Christmas since then they have added to his tool box. In a strange role reversal, John now asks Jamison if he can borrow some of his tools.
Jamison posed and asked us to take his picture with the truck of his dreams. Austin and his friend saw the truck but were much more excited with the Ferrari that had just pulled up. They immediately grabbed their phones and started taking pictures of the flashy red Ferrari and its decals that had the classic Ferrari horse on them. Jamison was not impressed with all of the flash. He proudly exclaimed that he "prefers to not draw attention to himself."
I sat back and considered the situation. Austin was practically drooling over the splashy, loud and fast sport cars that make most men turn to mush with excitement. My 12-year-old seemed thrilled with the prospect of going fast and even more thrilled by the prospect of being seen going fast. The Ferrari was cranked up, and Austin and his friend closed their eyes in contentment listening to the purr of the engine. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my 9-year-old Jamison is much more practical and has certain quietness to his likes. He prefers to go unnoticed but still enjoys the beauty of a classically restored truck.
God has a great sense of humor. My boys could not be any more different if they tried. I like to think that they complement each other beautifully. What one doesn't think of, I rest assured, knowing the other one will. Things around our house are always hopping and never boring. The adventure continues every day, and I am trying to just keep up.
Johanna is a proud seventh-generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at firstname.lastname@example.org.