Today when I picked up Jacob from school all I could do was smile. His face was streaked with black smudges all across his forehead and down his cheeks. He looked like a coal miner. I knew exactly what had happened. He had been sweating like a madman and then used his hands to wipe the sweat from his face, except that his hands were black from playground grunge. When kids play with those classic, red, rubber playground balls, their hands get sooooo D-I-R-T-Y! His face told me about his ultra competitive playtime; how hard he had played for the coveted title of Gaga Ball Champion. I looked at his hands and I just cringed. Oh.my.word. How can he not care that his hands are sooooooooooo filthy? But hey that’s the joy of being a boy. And that makes me think of my husband and how awesome it is that he can work his tail off in our backyard, digging trenches for sewer lines and sawing things for our construction project…..with dirt and sawdust blanketing his forearms…and be totally comfortable and fine with that. And yet they both clean up so nicely. Today as I looked at my boy with his dirt-smudged face and hands and with sweat dripping down his face, I thought to myself “boys are awesome!” I remember when I was pregnant and discovered the news at our ultrasound that we would have a boy- I freaked. I didn’t know anything about raising boys. I grew up with one sister. I went to an all-girls high school. I didn’t really associate with boys until I was in college. How in the world was I going to raise a boy? And Steve comforted me….”don’t worry Pal….I was a boy….I’ll let you know how to raise one.” Today was one of those days when I just smiled at the recollection of how nervous I had been nine years ago. Now I am so incredibly comfortable with being a mama of a boy. I love my boy….dirt and sweat and all. Today I delighted in his grand announcement that he had finally won against one unbeatable boy. That 11-year old boy was a force to be reckoned with in the Gaga Ball Court apparently. Oh the sweet victory on Jacob’s face when he could proudly announce that today marked the day that HE stayed in the court and the older, invincible 11-year old had been hit below the knees and couldn’t catch the ball nor dodge it in time.
The joy of that Gaga Ball victory caused him to want to play for an additional 45 minutes after school with Natalie. They both looooooove this game! It wasn’t enough for him that he played it all recess and all lunch. It’s definitely a clever game- very active, lots of movement, requires a lot of coordination and can involve a lot of children in a small amount of land space.
It’s been announced: this weekend there will be momentous daddy-son outing…..they will be going out to buy Jacob some deodorant for the first time. I can just picture him now…..sniffing all the different scents of deodorants, trying to find the one he likes best…..and feeling so grown up and manly. That trip will indeed be a mark of entering manhood for him. An exciting weekend indeed. All in time for his first soccer game of the season on Sunday. Sweaty times…..here we come….