This week has been a terrific week for my son Seamus (8 years old) and I. Renee and Layla were out of town for 5 days this week in Oklahoma attending the Mid American Dorper Sheep Show and sale. They both took a 2 1/2 day breeders course and got some quality time with dear friends. Just as an aside,yes this was a big sacrifice in time and effort for our family but we don't do hobby sheep or hobby farm. We have a dedication to excellence to our product and our breeds and we always do it together as a family. Now back to what we were talking about. While the girls were away I kept the farm limping along in the rain and mud but had the privilege of joining Seamus during his routine. To say that I have learned so much about my son this week is an understatement.
I purposely didn't return texts quickly that weren't emergencies, didn't post on social media, let some tasks wait that I normally wouldn't have just to give more time to Seamy this week. We hit the batting cage after school and I learned that he is very coach able and he learned that his dad know things that he didn't even know that I knew. We took in our first baseball game together this week. This is his first year in Little League and his is doing great at it, but he has never actually seen a base ball game played. I can't believe I let that slip in my busy schedule. When I was about his age my dad would from time to time take us to the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium to see the Indians play. They were so bad in the mid 80's that the tickets were general admission and my brother and I would change seats about 20 times each game. I loved summer time and baseball as a kid seemed inseparable to the rhythm of kiddom and summer freedom to this mid western boy. As we sat at the Skeeters game he picked out the perfect seats to sit in next time we come as he very much wanted to get a foul ball. I told him how much I couldn't wait to come back to the ball park again with him and his response floored me. He said ' thanks dad but i doubt we will come back very soon'. I said puzzled what do you mean buddy I'm having fun and can't wait to do this again. he replied "yeah but people never do what they say they will do". I didn't say anything, just hugged him with my arm mostly because I didn't want to cry at the game. Everyone knows there is no crying in baseball. Only 8 and he know the reality of failed promises and intentions not fulfilled.
So he says to me "can we go to brazos bend and ride bikes slowly and look at stuff?" It was Saturday evening and I'd normally not be so quick to say lets go, but I really wanted to hang out with him doing what he wanted to do. The boy is seriously into nature, being outside, everything camo, sharp things and BB guns and now apparently 7 mile bike rides. Only darkness got us off the bikes at the end of the day. Each turn that same smile you see in those pictures would glance back over his shoulder seeking my approval and saying quietly "we're having fun aren't we dad?" Since the pickup was in Oklahoma we crammed the bikes into the car and rode home with the windows down and pepsi in a glass bottle in his hand. It was like a scene from a movie with perfectly lit evening light and him waving his hand out the window of the moving car. We didn't say a word the whole way home. Just satisfied silence and content boys.
The remainder of the week was probably the most significant but not as full of events. The rest of the week was STAAR testing for him and I did the daily stuff that his mom normally does. Up early making breakfast, packing lunches, pick up and drop off at school, farm chores together, cleaning the house for a weekend farm event, painting the office you know mostly routine things. Seamus has never been the kid that shows his affection easily. He, like most 8 year old boys, also is not very big in the gratitude department and just goes along knowing that everything will be taken care of for him because he is loved. This week I learned what gives him stress and also what rejuvenates him. Together we worked through what makes him feel restricted and what makes him open to being coached. His independence is not crush able and he learns best through self discovery and experimentation. He is not afraid to be alone and rarely feels by himself even when he is. He is compassionate to baby birds and has a knack for finding nests, because in his words " I listen for them". He is however very self aware and cares deeply that those around him approve of him. Some day his natural born leadership tendencies and heart of compassion will meet in the middle of an excellent man. In the mean time it appears the only thing for me to do is love him with open arms, keep him as safe as I can, pray with him and for him, and quit confining his spirit. He turns 9 next week.