Monday, October 10, 2016

Backroad Boy

Nine years ago, I was in a hospital bed dilated to 9.5 centimeters, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my third child.  Today, I am reflecting on the last nine years of that baby's life.  That baby, who was a boy, came into the world is his own unique way, and hasn't stopped surprising me since.

I have five children, all with very different personalities, but there's always one, right?  That one child that you just can't keep under your thumb?  Greyson is my ONE.

When I begin writing these posts about my children, I start with the gathering of photos.  I go back through my last year of pictures and pull out my favorites.  I take so many pictures that I usually have to omit some to keep my posts under control. And then, once I choose my pictures, they start to tell a story of the past year. With this boy, and this ninth year of his life, things were different.  The pictures in this post today are the only pictures I have of Greyson over the course of this last year.  And it's not because I just didn't take many pictures-I took thousands!  I don't have many pictures of Greyson over the last year because he never stops moving.   If it's not a school day, he's up by 8:00am and out the door as soon as I will let him.  I always make sure he eats breakfast because who knows when I'll see that boy again!  He takes off on his bicycle to his friends' houses, who are just as eager to attack the days as Grey is.  They spend hours building jumps for their bikes and dirt bikes, riding dirt bikes, building forts and campfire pits and playing with Winston.  I should give him a check in time, shouldn't I?  I do.  As with all of my other children, he's required to check in with me once per hour.  And while ALL the other kids are compliant, Greyson is not.  He can't be bothered with coming home once an hour for nothing!  He'll come home when he gets hungry, right?  Wrong.  Often he'll be invited to dinner with  his friends, unbeknownst to me, and when I finally track him down and make him come home for dinner, he'll inform me that he's already eaten and why do I have to come home for dinner?  I don't even like this dinner.  Is chicken even healthy?  When can I go back outside?  What do you mean it's shower night?  I just showered two days ago.  Dirt bikes do not make me dirty.  No, you cannot smell my feet from way over there!  Why do I have to go to bed at 8:00?  I'm not tired at that time.  Who cares that I have to get up for school in the morning?  I hate school.  We don't learn anything and I have better things to do than anything I do at school.

And so I sigh, and send him back outside for just a little longer, and as I clean up the kitchen I tell myself that they're only young once and there will come a time when he won't want to play until dark every day and besides, I can't really endure the wrath of Greyson for the next hour and half until bedtime, listening to him complain about being inside while it's still light outside.
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The why's and I-don't-want-to's do not only pertain to meals and being indoors.  In fact, they pertain to almost everything in Greyson's life.  Sometimes, I make him do horrible things.  I mean, things that are completely awful.  Unthinkable, in fact.

Things like play flag football again this year, 
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and go to the cabin when it's sunny but not quite 80 degrees outside,
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 and go to Florida FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK,
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and play Junior Golf,
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and take a nature walk in the snow,
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and go blueberry picking,
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and walk across the Mackinaw Bridge on Labor Day,
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and help cut down our Christmas tree,
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and play with his puppy,
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and stop riding bikes so we can go for ice cream because it's ANOTHER 90 degree day,
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and pick out his own baby chick to raise, 
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and come see this awesome snake we found in the yard, 
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and get off the Sea Doo so we can take a boat ride!
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I will tell you that Grey is not always disagreeable.  There is one thing that he will drop any other plans he's made for...

He has lifted 130 year old barn beams from our pile of rubble.  He has hauled rocks from the field to the fire pit.  He has even lifted Jason high into the air to trim tree branches with that tractor.  He is very skilled at it, and it's easy to forget he's just a boy when he's in the driver's seat of Grandpa Ro's old tractor.  For all the stress he causes me, it fills me with happiness to see the pride he takes in his work with that machine.  Every day that he has helped out with the old tractor he has declared to be "the best day EVER."
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Oh, and all those things I had to MAKE him do?  Once he's actually doing them, he loves them-all of them.  I don't think there has been a single thing I've MADE him do in the last year that he didn't end up having tons of fun doing.  Well, except maybe school.  But I've informed him that school is non-negotiable and he just needs to get over that one.  I'm not giving in.  Sorry, kid.  

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This year for his birthday, Grey requested the same kind of birthday he had last year-dirt bikes and hayrides.  So, basically, he wanted his birthday to be like all of his other days, except with his family and friends there to join in his favorite pastimes with him.

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As for cake?  No, thank you.  This boy only wanted ice cream, so a build-your-own sundae bar is what he got.

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This year, he asked for four things for his birthday: (1) long-range walkie talkies because how else can you communicate with your friends when you're outside all day, everyday?  (2) a camera with video capabilities so he can record all of the awesome stunts he practices on his bike and dirt bike.
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(3) weights, because along with drinking ALL THE WATER IN THE WORLD every day, weights are the way to six-pack abs.  And in case you were wondering, six-pack abs are the way to ALL THE GIRLFRIENDS.  That's right-Grey has a girlfriend.  And another on the wait list.  Oh, and he dumped the last girl because she wasn't smart enough for him.  (This is a huge part of why I drink wine.)
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(4) iTunes gift cards.  Not for games or movies, but music.  Specifically, country music.  He loves it-can't get enough!  Not only does Grey know every word to every song, but also every artist.  And he gets very angry if you don't know the words and singer, too!  It's really too bad that he doesn't like any attention drawn to him-good or bad-because Grey is an awesome singer.  I'm hoping that he will someday come out of his shell and show people how talented he is with his voice.

I have a lot of hopes for this boy.  I hope he never loses his love of the outdoors.  I hope he never loses the fearlessness he possesses on his dirt bikes.  I hope he continues to seek out new challenges in his life.  I hope he realizes that he is capable of anything he sets his mind to.  I hope he realizes just how important he is to those who love him.  I hope he realizes that I want him at my dinner table because I love his face and I am not complete without him there.

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Happy Birthday, Grey.  Mom loves you.
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