Our lives are currently overrun with batting helmets, baseball schedules and even a catcher's mask on occasion. It's been a bit busy, but very enjoyable, especially for the little old man, who of course spends most of his off-school hours practicing, practicing the batting and catching skills he so wants. I know this is a real shift to boyhood, this fascination with sports, but recently I caught a glimpse of the man inside.
It was totally unrelated to his baseball fantasies, in fact.
For the last year and a half, he has been begging to try pushing our very heavy, bagged push mower around our somewhat substantial yard. I've resisted. He's 'helped' push in the past, and it usually makes the already difficult task even more cumbersome. This year I gave in a bit and let go of the mower handle.
I watched as his tanned, resolute arms struggled and exerted. He broke a sweat and tried with all the muscles in his lean little form, and he pushed the mower. No matter how mother henly I clucked next to him, wanting to save him from this sharp corner or that little slope, the determined boy finished the front lawn by himself. I was shocked and promptly rewarded him with a Pepsi from Daddy's forbidden stash.
The next mowing I figured he'd remember how hard it was and shy away from any involvement. I was very mistaken. As I laced my mowing shoes, he got ready and even beat me outside, pulling out the mower to get started even faster. I asked my little guy why he was so excited to work, of all things. His reply brought tears to my eyes.
He wants to mow to get strong enough to mow the whole lawn every time, so I wouldn't have to work so hard; so I could spend some time doing something enjoyable.
And that's what it means to be a real man. Thoughtfulness. Self-sacrifice. Doing something hard to spare the ones you love.
Some day I'll hand him over to a lucky young lady, and I'll remember this day. I'll remind him of what it means to be a real man.