"Ball," he said, pushing on my chest. "What?" "Ball," he insists, yanking on my shirt. I'm confused.
I've been watching him all summer, this little 2 1/2 yr old boy that is Mr W's nephew. We're sitting in Mr W's living room, me, my future father-in-law, and the tyke's Mom.
"Ball!" he's getting frustrated now. I look up at his Mom, perplexed, and she smiles. "Oh, I know! Sometimes, I hide a ball in my shirt. He thinks you've got one." "But I don't." "Yeah, but I think he thinks that your, um, boob is a ball." I must've looked confused, because she goes on, "You've got a little more there than I do, so he thinks you have a ball..." Oohhh, I see. Great. I feel myself blush and I hand him over to her, looking up to see my future father-in-law suppress a laugh. I really start blushing when I hear her explaining what happened to all of those who missed the scene cuz they were in the kitchen. Nothing like the embarrassment of a 15 yr old to bring the family together...
I was reminded of this yesterday when we were in Tucson. My adorable little 2 1/2 year old charge is now 22, with a house, and a girlfriend that will probably be his fiance soon. He's an EMT and couldn't come to dinner, so we took it to him. I'm watching Emma pack his plate up, and I check it out: ham, rolls, mashies & the usual stuff, and...olives. It's the olives that get me.
When Daniel was little, he used to do that kid thing of placing an olive on each finger (and his thumb) and eating them one by one. He loved doing that, and we all loved watching him because he made such a show of it for us. I could see his little chubby face, all lit up, excited to be playing with his food in front of the grownups.
"He still loves the olives, huh?" I ask Emma, who nods yes. We grab his stuff, and drive over to the firestation he's working at. As I drive up, I see this guy sitting outside, and I can't believe it's him. When did my little guy turn into such a...man? He walks over to me, and I just have to give him a great big hug. I wish that we could have spent more time together, but we only get to chat for a minute before his Mom reminds him to go eat before they get a call.
"When did that happen?" I ask her. "Weren't we just trying to keep him from looking for the ball down my shirt?" She starts laughing. "I'd forgotten about that," she says.
"I'm gonna have to tell his girlfriend that story the next time I see her," I joke back, "maybe he'll blush as much as I did."
And as we drive away, I'm struck by how much my oldest son looks like him. I've gotten a preview, and it reminds me to slow down, stop being in such a hurry to get on with the next chore, and hug my big boy while he's still a...boy.