My son Quentin is a force to be reckoned with. Although he has a rather small frame for a 7 year old, he packs a whole lotta energy into that small wily body. When he enters a room, everything becomes fast and exciting. He reminds me of a dusty tumbleweed rolling about with the wind. It's fun to watch but don't get too close or you may get dust in your eyes.
My husband and I were laying around in our bed on Saturday - definitely a rarity - when my middle man Q came strolling in wearing his hand me down Lightning McQueen pajamas and sporting his crooked smile. Whenever I see him smile it first lightens my heart because his smile is so beautiful and sincere and then pinches me with guilt because I owe him a trip to the dentist. Anyway, here he was sauntering into our bedroom, looking very pleased and satisfied with himself. He flashed me my personal, "I love you" smile and with lighting speed leapt onto his daddy's chest. Full force. He landed with a thud. A groan followed.
Q wasn't moved, he threw his arms around his daddy who could do nothing but return the gesture. I know why it's called a bear hug now. It sounded like both father and son were growling as they tightly hugged and laughed. I love watching my children with their daddy. Everyday is Christmas when he comes home from work. His getting into the door is always a big production. I myself am not an emotionally demonstrative person, so I usually watch the excitement from a distance.
Big boy leaps up for a hug, middleman grabs him around his waist, and my littlest one wraps her skinny legs around one of his big legs and sits herself on his foot taking a ride as he waddles his way into the living room. It is a sight to see such a big man with these little children. I can see the joy and safety register on their faces and everyday is a constant reminder at how perfectly blessed I am. I know it is not the case with many families where the father is so open, generous and present with their children. The wonderful thing is when my three children immediately pull on daddy to tell a story, or kick the soccer ball, he always tells them the same thing. "I want some time with mommy." and he comes over to where I am sitting, or standing and plants his daily, "I'm home" kiss on my lips. It makes me feel special. I am never forgotten in the bustle of the entrance.
On this unusual day when no one had to jump up to work or rush to a soccer game - the three of us were laying on my queen sized bed. After Daddy and Q hugged, Daddy rubbed his face against Q who immediately pulled back and screeched.
"Daddy you hurt my face!" he laughed.
"With my beard?" Daddy asked.
"Yes - with your beard!" Daddy grabbed Q again and rubbed his scratchy stubble against Q's baby soft cheek. Q screeched again and then laughed.
Jon and I both told Q how each of us had those special moments when our daddies rubbed their unshaven rough faces against our cheeks when we were his age. Q delights in our stories and asks lots of questions about our experiences as children. Something about knowing we all experienced similar things with our parents unites us. We tell those stories as often as we can. When I started talking about my daddy who I named Q after, he slid over to my side of the bed and cuddled right up to me. As I told my story he stared intently into my face. I took advantaged of his attention and asked him seriously, "Are you growing a beard?" I pretended to survey his chin. He nodded earnestly and stated, "Yeah. I am." He rubbed his chin the way a grown man feels his face to survey how much shaving he has to do. He nodded again, keeping his fingers at his chin.
"You see these little tiny hairs?" he asked me - still seriously. I nodded.
"You see those little tiny hairs on my chin? They are there because I'm growing a beard." I nodded again.
"Just like you." he stated as his eyes surveyed the underside of my chin. There was a second of silence before Jon and I exploded in laughter. Q immediately realized on some level he said "the wrong thing." He was smiling but I saw concern in his eyes, " I'm sorry." he quickly apologized. I gave him a hug and assured them there was absolutely nothing to apologize for. He was happy again, particularly pleased about the laughter his actions generated and in his typical style bounded off the bed and out the door, leaving the bedroom door swaying slightly in his wake.
Thank God I have a thick skin.