Nice Boys

Eliot and Isaac

Yesterday, I got a distress email from my Microsoft conference boss.  She had some horrible notes she couldn’t wrangle alone.  I put in 7 hours for 28 pages.  Good times. That, combined with babysitting my darling nephews, made for no time to blog.  Sorry.  Thankfully, Jonathon and Zac stepped up to help.  We sure enjoy those little guys.

Before I tackled the notes, I’d promised Eliot, 5 and Isaac, 3, a hike to the creek.  The sun shone down weakly thorugh the gathering clouds.  Rain would show up again in the next day or so.  We wandered up the street.  I pointed out squirrels gathering nuts for the long winter.  Chickadees swooped around us.

Upon reaching the pond, Isaac started throwing sticks into the water.  Then they both progressed to rocks.  I moved them down the path.  It was slow going.  Pick up a choice rock.  Admire it.  Toss it pond-wise.  Repeat.

“Hey guys?  Let’s keep moving.”  The clock ticked.  I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me.

We wandered on the gravel path.  The trees above us alternated green and gold leaves. When we reached the creek, more sticks begged to swim.  Big or little, it made no difference.

“Aunt Susan, look at this!”  Eliot held up a large stick.  Instead of pitching it, he held it under his arm.  Ditto with a couple of rocks.  Isaac kept his hands free, charging up the path.  Eliot poked along.  He had no reason to rush.

We crossed over the new bridge.  Isaac hopped up and trotted over.  I helped Eliot clamber up.  Wary, he glanced at the water a foot below us.  Getting dirty would be uncomfortable.  Getting wet would be much worse.

A couple of weeks back, a work crew carved a new path out of the hillside.  The boys agreed we should explores it.  Up and down we marched, avoiding a few tree roots.  I spotted a blue-winged woodpecker along the way.

“Look!”  Isaac picked up a rock for me to check out.

“No,” I said.  “We’re leaving the rocks here now.  They’re holding up the hillside.”

Isaac, ever creative, picked up the ostrich-egg sized rock and moved it from one side of the path to the other.  There!  Much better.  I chuckled.

Suddenly, the path ended.  Ahead of us, the crew had prepared the ground.  The freshly dug earth showed they planned to extend the path’s length.  The ground still contained uprooted plants.  Rocks bulged out of the dirt.

“We’re turning around here,” I said.

“No,” Isaac said.

Oh boy.

“Yes, we are.  We can’t go any further down this path.  See?  They’re not done with it yet.  We could stumble on those huge stones.”


I thought for a minute.


Isaac didn’t like that one bit.  He ran past me down the path, back the way we came.


Then he turned and looked at me.

“I’m gonna punch you in the face!” he said. His little face scowled at me.

Oh boy.

I did my level best not to laugh.  This is his new catchphrase.  He’s the youngest.  I gather he garners respect when he says this, in spite of his pint-sized cuteness. He can’t even reach my face.

“Isaac, come here.”


“NOW!” My voice rang under the trees.

I got his attention. He walked over to me.

“That is not acceptable.  We don’t say that, especially to people we love.”

His pale blue eyes looked into mine.  What would I do next?

“You know what we do instead?”

He said nothing.

“We hug them!”

I grabbed him in my arms and held him close. I felt him relax. I released him.  We smiled at each other.  We walked back to the bridge. After a few more rock-tosses and some photo ops, we made it home safe and sound.

I want to remember that when people close to us “act up”, it’s not their true selves. This, folks, was not the happy-go-lucky Isaac I know.  Even nice boys have rough moments.  Heck, nice girls, too, especially when we don’t get what we want. Can we give people the benefit of the doubt?  I’m up for trying.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
 – I Peter 4:8



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