This boy makes me smile. He's my easy one. He's the one who spontaneously comes up behind me to rub my neck. He tells me that I look nice. He still wants me to come in to his Grade 5 classroom to volunteer. He still initiates a kiss for me each day right on the school field in front of his friends. He tells me that I make the best birthday parties. He isn't a child in the typical egocentric sort of way; he naturally excels at considering others. I thank God for him each day. When I first met my Mother-in-law, I remember vividly how she told me that JoyBoy - her lastborn son - never gave her a day's trouble in all his life. This is precisely the way I feel about my Jude. Life is so pleasant when he's in the room.
His favorite activity is making people laugh and to say that he's good at it is putting things mildly. I don't ever have to toss off a pity laugh for him in the interest of building self-esteem; there's absolutely no need. I do, however, often have to tell him to stop already so that I can stop laughing and get on with the business of life. He smiles all the time and somehow, the sun seems to follow him around.
Alongside his countless strengths, he struggles sometimes with his work ethic. He's one of the lucky ones, and was born with a clever head on his shoulders and so most of the time has to exert very little effort in school and places like that in order to succeed. He doesn't always see the value in "busting one's butt" in order to pull off an A+ when he can pull off B+'s and A's with no effort at all. It's been a struggle trying to show him why this is valuable, even crucial for one's sustained satisfaction through life. Seeing the intrinsic pleasure of a difficult job well done doesn't come naturally to this boy, cute though his nose may be. At ten, he doesn't yet get that all that frantic paddling can sometimes get you to the crest of the most gobsmacking wave. The one that very few others get to feast their eyes upon and slide down, the thrill of it ennervating their very souls.
He's a very olive-green boy. I watch him, endlessly fascinated. His current obsession (and they change at a frenetic pace) is playing soldier. He loves to horrify me by telling me he wants to join the SWAT. Either that or the RCMP. I comfort myself in asserting inside my own head that he only says so to make me cringe. He dresses in camoflauge as soon as it's tasteful to remove his school uniform. He carves sticks into weapon-like things with his jack-knife. He loves catapaults and sling shots. He begs me to buy him all manner of Nerf weaponry for his birthday. But just try to hit a sparrow with the grill of your Volvo and watch him dissolve into tears. His heart is so soft, and knowing this has helped me to be patient with all his commando shenanigans. I am one lucky girl.