Friday, January 04, 2008

Clay and Cooper are growing fast through their adolescence. Cooper, who is 2 years younger than his brother, caught up with Clay in height and weight several years ago, then got taller and heavier, much to Clay's initial dismay; but Clay is a happy, carefree child, so it didn't bother him for long. Knowing that his own dad, who was my firstborn, turned out to be a couple of inches shorter than his younger brother helped. Knowing that God planned it that way also helped.

Clay has had a growth spurt since he started 8th grade. He and Cooper are, for the time being, very close to the same height and weight. Clay's voice at 13 years old is getting deeper, and the peach fuzz on his upper lip was thicker and darker than it was just a month ago, but still not very noticeable. When he commented about it to me, I offered him the personal groomer/trimmer I keep in my bathroom, and he quite impulsively shaved his faint little mustache on the spot.

Ricky said I cheated him out of sharing "first shave" honors with his son. I should have known he wanted to mark this milestone as a special occasion, and I immediately regretted not discussing it with him first. Since Clay's shave with my trimmer didn't involve shaving cream and a real razor, I told him the "first real shave" honors were still his. I'm sure there will be pictures to mark the occasion.

Once again, I was struck during the holidays by what good daddies my sons have turned out to be. I give my own father a lot of the credit for the model they had to follow. I've never known a more devoted grandfather.

With their own father being as distant and detached as he was, they had unfulfilled longings that also influenced the way they relate to their own children. Giving their sons the attention, affection and admiration that they wanted but didn't get seems to have had a healing effect on the emotional scars they got from their dad's coldness, and from some of the mistakes that were made by their step-dad.

Having Don as a step-dad has helped Benji be a better step-dad, too. Benji and Don disagreed with each other more than they agreed. Now that Benji has step-children, he's understanding some of the frustration and challenges that Don experienced. Old grudges have softened into gratitude, and he's chosen the kinder, gentler side of his old nemesis to emulate.

No gift could have pleased this grandmother more than observing the wonderful, easy manner my sons have in dealing with their children. They are both quite good at it.

There was another poignant "grace under pressure" moment that made me smile. When we were at the Bass Pro Shop yesterday, Cooper lost his wallet. Unlike Clay who spends money and gift cards as quickly as he gets them, Cooper, from birthday and Christmas, had accumulated an impressive sum of close to $300, which was in the lost billfold. Ricky quickly retraced their steps and found it where they had been looking at guns. Cooper had been carrying it around in his hand because it wasn't "comfortable" in his back pocket, then laid it down to handle several rifles and walked off, carelessly forgetting what he'd done. Clay had done the same thing the night before, but without nearly as much money in his.

Within minutes of reuniting frantic boy with lost wallet, Ricky sat both boys down on the bench in the boot department and laid down the law about back pockets being made for boys' billfolds, demonstrating this principle in a very animated manner. He didn't raise his voice, he didn't shame them, but from the looks on their faces, all passers-by knew they were in trouble. And if they watched Ricky for any length of time, they had no trouble figuring out what the subject of the lecture was all about.

Gramma had to turn her back so the boys didn't see her grinning. I wish I could have made a picture without them seeing me. Maybe this blog post will help me retain the mental photo I got. Within minutes, father and sons were smiling and joking with each other, another memory I don't want to lose.

Way to go, Guys! In case I haven't told you lately, I'm very proud of both of you, and I really enjoyed spending holiday time with you and your families.

Holiday pictures are here.

No comments: