My middle child, Punkinhead, is 6 years old. I've written many times about the funny things he says that keep us laughing, about the difficulties he has concentrating on things that don't interest him sometimes, and about what a little charmer he can be. I've written so much about him because he's such a joy, and sometimes, such an enigma to me. I love how unbridled his enthusiasm is for anything that he enjoys. I love his single-minded focus on the things that do capture his interest. I love how he looks at something ordinary and sees things in a completely different light than what anyone else sees. Even when he's doing the complete opposite of what I want him to do, it's hard not to love the kid. He's just so full of life that it's hard not to feel bathed in sunshine just from sitting next to him.
Punkinhead is my second born child, and also my second son. It's both funny and amazing to me that I can have 2 male children, composed of the same basic genetic components derived from their father and I, and yet they turn out to be such polar opposites. Eggy, my oldest, is not a dreamer at all. He's a an intellectual, and a hard worker, and has little regard for the more ridiculous things in life. He's a very curious child, and wants to know how everything works, and why everything happens. I picture him as finding his future in something to do with science or engineering. He's just that type of personality that I think would be suited to those fields. With Punkinhead? The world is wide open. I joke that he's going to be a pool boy and international man of mystery. He's so charming and so imaginative that, while I have no doubt he could be a scientist if he so desired, I can't really picture that. I don't know what he'll do with his life, and that's okay. He'll find his way. But, I guess, my main point is, my 2 boys are just so very different; almost like night and day.
Sometimes I see such a clear illustration of this that it amuses me. Today was one of those days. We recently acquired a new dog, Mr. Harrelson, and he had indicated that he needed to go out to relieve himself. Hunny and the boys were already outside. They were supposed to be fixing my porch. One of the supports broke on it awhile back, and it needed replaced. When I went outside with Mr. Harrelson, there was Eggy, steadfastly heling his father repair the damaged porch, but Punkinhead was nowhere in sight. I didn't think much of it, but continued on around back so that the puppy could relieve himself. I still did not see Punkinhead, but there were a few scattered toys in the back yard, including the lid from our turtle sandbox. It wasn't on the sandbox because it's been snowing and the kids like to use it for a sled in the event of enough snowfall to make sliding a possibility. As I stood there, waiting for Mr. Harrelson to do his business, the lid popped up from the ground and there was Punkinhead, beaming at me. “Hi, Mom!” I had to laugh at this entire tableau. While Eggy was diligently helping his father repair the porch, Punkinhead wandered off and secreted himself beneath the lid to the turtle sandbox, and remained there, completely covert, so that it was no longer a sandbox lid, but his secret fortress. And, this is why I cannot help but love this kid. I saw a lid. He saw a fortress, and he couldn't resist it. I hope that he always sees fortresses and that he never sacrifices his imagination for drudgery. Sure, there's a lot to be said for hard work. Absolutely, I think that everyone should do their part, but I'm also so tickled by my dreamer – and be honest with yourself – without the dreamers, where would the rest of us be? They are the ones who give us poetry, art, literature, and innovation. They are the ones who inspire the rest of us. I think sometimes that I have clear moments like this so that I can appreciate my son even more. Sure, sometimes it takes us twice as long to do reading lessons, and he can't focus long enough to clean his room. But, what if that very dreamy quality that gets on my nerves is the thing that allows him to imagine the cure for any of the global crises that threaten our planet, or allows him to design a piece of technology that makes life better for us all? So, here's to the dreamers. They don't always live in our reality, but when we get a glimpse into theirs? Well, that's a true thing of beauty.