There are a lot of little boys in our family. We could build a baseball team – the Fighting Lys. My brother and sister-in-law just had twin boys a week ago, Dragon babies if you’re keeping track. Then there are nephews on my husband’s side: a four year-old firecracker, a one year-old sweetheart, and a baby boy with a baby mohawk. Then there are close friends with tots of their own who will grow up to consider the Fighting Lys their cousins. And there it is – a zoo at family-friend functions: full of screeching boys, mothers and aunts chasing after children pleading them to eat while swiping away dirt on clothes, and fathers and uncles playing poker on a makeshift table in the dining room.
I don’t have children of my own yet, but I’ve learned from observing the tiny troublemakers much about how life should truly be lived. If only we had the courage to do so. They’re innocent, unfettered by concerns of the world, not jaded by its disappointments and struggles. They live free and joyful, giggling as they run in circles on the grass.
When the first little boy was born – the 4 year-old – the entire clan thought no one could possibly be cuter and full of personality. We could not love anyone more. Then came his little brother, the one year-old. He was the opposite of his older brother in many ways – quieter, sweet, and known for easy smiles and giggles. He seized our hearts. Soon after came the mohawk baby with his trendy baby clothes and unaffected manner, followed recently by my family’s twin baby dragons. We love them all and were surprised to learn the capacity to love is infinite – there’s always room to love more and just as fully.
Bam! Crash! I saw the boys fight, too. It could get pretty nasty. Bumps and bald spots on the head are not uncommon. But just as suddenly as the fight began, it ended. They learned to play together – because each other was all they had. If only, right adults?
And just as that earlier image of the boys running in circles on the grass suggests, children know – really know – how to have fun. The smallest thing can set off a firestorm of imaginary games, giggles and unbridled joy. Haven’t you seen children run laps around a coffee table dozens of times? They play games even if they don’t know the rules. Adults need more stimulation and guidance than that. We’re so high maintenance.
I’ve seen the boys and their friends go on adventures. They’re pirates on its maiden voyage, braving the high seas and fighting sea monsters of every size. They’re astronauts, blasting into the stratosphere to explore uncharted alien territory. I think I even recall the pirates and astronauts fighting in an intergalactic coalition with Spiderman to save the world from a sea turtle. In any case, boy do they have imaginations! What writer wouldn’t crave a fraction of that during their worst writer’s block or anyone for that matter, to see life through a more colorful lens?
The boys made friends with such ease. A simple “tag, you’re it!” and the initiation was over — acceptance complete. They laugh a lot, at everything. Children seem to feel emotions intensely and aren’t afraid to show it. They rush to you in ardent love, hugging you unabashedly. And they feel loss and sadness deeply, as if everything is fresh. They seem so sure of who they are, what they feel and why, and what they want to do.
The next time someone says to me, “You’re acting like a child,” I’ll take that as a compliment. Ah, the Fighting Lys. What a team they’ll make. I wonder if pirates can throw a baseball?