|Photo courtesy of Pam Stephenson. Thanks, Pam!|
See the toothless spaz on the left taking the photographer's dumb joke a little too seriously? That would be yours truly, age 7. I have a kid who is the same age I was in this photo, and I can't help but think of him when I look at it.
Ian is carefree, in about as many ways as you can define the word. He is confident in being himself. He has no major concerns in his life that cause him to worry. He is carefree in not being careful. He takes risks. The things I want him to worry about, he doesn't care about. Basically, he is a happy kid, still looking forward to his life, confident that his future will always be as rosy as his present.
I think I was that way when I was seven, when I still thought the world was a magical place where everyone was nice and played by the rules, and princesses were living out their fairy tale lives in lands far, far away from mine.
|This precious child ate all the Thin Mints?|
In the frenzy of daily life, Ian will often be found at the center of the chaos, laughing and enjoying himself despite the disorder that may be happening around him. When our little Annie died, Ian was like a little angel around the house, constantly dispensing hugs and kisses and other unusually sympathetic gestures for a nearly three year-old.
This angel also has his little devil moments: sneaking outside with bare feet to jump on a snow-covered trampoline, chasing his sibling around the house with a spray can of Lysol, devouring every snack in the cupboards when my head is turned.
Ian has been like a little gremlin lately, leaving a trail of evidence- crumbs, lego, and occasionally drops of blood (I too was a nose-bleeder)- from one crime scene to another. His antics have incited both of his parents to frequent scoldings, enough so that when a sentence starts with "Ian...," we immediately brace for impact (we recall how he taught his kindergarten class the bird gesture, and I'm not referring to Napoleon Dynamite's "happy hands").
Heaven help me, despite the sighs and eye-rolls I often offer this boy, I think my life could use a little Ian-emulation. So what if I blow off my responsibilities now and then to the annoyance of folks around me? I can still be happy and laugh at myself. So what if I draw a little blood now and then? It'll dry up and my cool scar will make a great conversation piece, and I love to talk. I may not give myself license to raid the cupboards, but maybe a good bounce on a snowy trampoline is just what I need.
Bless his little heart, Ian's happy, oblivious, spontaneous spirit has been a blessing to me and our whole family. Next time he does something that makes me want to put him on the naughty step, maybe I'll just join in the mischief instead.