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The Rhythm of Little Boys

May 22, 2014

For much of my childhood, I only knew a world of boys. I had a brother and two male cousins, who were my playmates. Don’t get me wrong! I loved being a girl, but I also learned to play baseball with the best of ‘em. A fact that wowed my kiddos the first time they saw me in a batting cage.

When expecting our first child, secretly I hoped for a boy. Thankfully, God answered that silent prayer with a red-headed bundle of energy, followed twenty short months later by a whopping curly-headed ball of all things boy.

Our house was strewn with balls, fire trucks, Rescue Heroes, swords, and dinosaurs for years. There were wrestling matches, amazing bouts with imaginary dragons and other bad guys, and an occasional jump with a homemade parachute. Happy were those days, and I couldn’t have been more proud.

In defense of my daughters, I just never pictured myself being the mom of girls. I am so thankful that God’s thoughts are so much greater than my own, because I couldn’t have been more wrong. However, if you’ve ever met my daughters, they are about the toughest girls I know. Pretty with flowing long locks – but packing a gritty fortitude willing to go to great lengths to get to the best fishing hole.

Yet, sticking with today’s title, my thoughts are on all things quintessentially – boy. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

The heartbreaking truth about little boys is that they don’t stay little forever. The days of trying to get one to sit still long enough to eat more than three bites at a sitting are soon replaced by empty milk cartons lying on the kitchen counter.

A friend, who is like a sister to me, placed a picture similar to this one on her Facebook wall awhile back.


I know she was making a statement about life with a preschooler, but all this momma could do was cry. Those days are mostly over for this mom. Even though the Boy Wonder is a pretty good sport about playing with his baby sister and younger cousins, no matter how much I beg ask him, he won’t make his signature sound effects for Master Splinter of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fame for me – EVER.

While I don’t miss the dirt, I do miss the sounds that only come from the imaginations of little boys.

A few days after my pity party, I attended our church’s ladies mini-retreat. Think: quilting mostly, with a smattering of other crafting going on. In came a friend with her sewing machine AND her young son. The only open table was the one behind me. She set to piecing a quilt while he got busy with his Thomas trains.

Barely perceptible over the hum of my sewing machine, I heard the melodic rhythm of putt-putt-puttering that my knee-high neighbor thought his trains should make. Just like I take every opportunity to breathe in the smells of newborn heads, I allowed my fingers to take a break so my ears could hear the symphony of noise at my feet. Eyes closed, I soaked in every moment, transported to the days when my boys did the same. His momma was never the wiser about the gift she had given me that day. Little boy noise wrapped up like the perfect gift.

I have never been one that savors change, and I am going into this my-boy-is-too-soon-a-man, kicking and screaming. I am watching friends at church speak truths to their graduates knowing that life is short (like Reed’s) and time is precious (like what I have left with Sawyer in our home).

As much as I fervently desire that my knack for growing zucchinis would result in a little boy or two sprouting in my cabbage patch. I’m afraid that train (like my little friend’s) has left the station.

I have learned, though, that God truly means he delights in giving us the desires of our hearts –even if I didn’t get the chance to birth enough kids to field a baseball team. Time and time again, he hears my faint cries, providing opportunities where other mommas bless me with coveted time with their precious little ones – noise and dirt included.

My awareness of God’s blessings began during a reunion with our former nanny whose littlest one was only four years old. In the first hour of our relationship, I learned that not only did he love superheroes (just like my boys did and do), but also that he was an expert in walking backwards (his words not mine). It was the next morning that stole my heart, causing me to long for days gone by. I received a call on my way to church from my new little buddy who wanted me to know that he was heartbroken because he forgot to tell me that I was his best friend. No words just tears as my heart melted!


A little later, a mom who truly needed help came into our lives.  She brought a baby boy who needed someone to watch him while she worked nights when her husband was stationed far away with the military. It was a time that I will cherish forever. Looking in from the outside, it would appear we were blessing them. Hardly! Each night I put to bed and was awoken by the most amazing little boy!

My big guy and the baby of my heart.

My big guy and the baby of my heart.

A last minute need for a sitter, results in amazing snuggles for an evening or an afternoon, complete with giggles and the kind of slapstick humor that only little boys find funny. Moments that remind me so much of Reed’s love of the ridiculous. I relish every second!


A trip showed me that anything and everything can and should be hauled in trucks, as I watched my cell phone go on an epic journey around the family room. Fits of giggles pursued when I discovered this tiny tot had more experience in selfies than this auntie. Ripples of laughter poured out like blessings.


My most recent favorite of these God-appointed moments was while serving as an extra adult on a class field trip. A little buddy spotted me and yelled out, “Kandy, check this out!” I couldn’t wait to see his accomplishment. My heart swelled as I realized among all the adults present, he chose me to share in his perfect moment.   Big boys rarely ask their mommas to do this, and it was one more chance I had to relive the glory days of mothering little guys.


For the mothers who wonder if they will ever pick up their toys (especially after embedding another Lego brick in her heel), if they will ever hit the toilet bowl and not the seat, if the dirt track by the front door will go away, or if they will ever have quiet moment again, the truth is sobering. The answers to those things are yes, most likely yes, probably not if you own dogs, and sadly – very sadly – yes.

To the mommas of these little guys, thank you for sharing them with me. You have no idea what joy each of them brings to my life. Little boys grow up taking their dirt and sound effects with them, leaving mommas to wonder where the time has gone.

Hug them tight! Encourage their imaginations! Overlook the mess!

Oh yeah . . . bring on the noise – that joyful melody of life!


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