The boys, and especially Caleb, are always asking me for “stories from when you were a kid”. Maybe it’s because Daddy can’t remember much of his childhood, or maybe it’s that Mama has a flair for dramatic storytelling, I don’t know. But I do have lots of interesting anecdotes and am happy to oblige my boys with a story. Leaving out the painful aspect of it, another result of parental neglect is lots of interesting adventures and kid-driven escapades! Brian and I were skilled at finding fun and entertaining ourselves for hours…
Mrs. Deason, my 3rd grade teacher, introduced her students to Indians and I became a little obsessed with that (it’s so fun to see the boys get totally head over heels into a subject that way, too!) All my report cards say “Brenda has a strong imagination” and it was no joke-I was convinced I WAS an Indian. I named myself Princess Running Water until little brother laughingly chanted the obvious “Princess PeePee” at me, over and over, forcing me to change it. I tried to make pemmican, and I tied my dollies up in a papoose on my back, and read every book I could on Indians, especially the Sioux tribe. I loved to pretend my pink bicycle was actually my faithful Palomino horse, Shadow. Once in the midst of a dramatic scene, I leaped onto my “horse” from the fence. I woke up pretty fast when that 70’s banana seat was NOT a faithful horse galloping through a canyon and instead I was suddenly curled up in a gravel alley, in agony! (My only comfort was that Brian hadn’t seen me, and the boys ask for the Princess PeePee who missed her horse story pretty often)
These stories delight the boys and I think it encourages them to enjoy their own imaginations. I know it’s having an effect on Caleb because recently I had told the kids how much I loved climbing trees…
Now Caleb, has never followed his older brothers up a tree. He’s Mr Drama, remember?
Last summer he stood below Josiah, warning him very matter-of-factly “You’re probably going to die. Or at least break both your legs.”. So he won’t go up his brothers Plum tree. Caleb chose an Evergreen, and gets pitch all over his clothes (worth it). Mine was a very old cedar and the smell of cedar fills my head with memories. I know evergreen pitch on his hands will always do the same, for Caleb.
He goes up there at least once a day. I told him how I would sneak up there, to spy on my brother and my pesky male cousins, and grin with delight when I heard them calling for me. How I would lean against a tree and try to become very still, like the branches, so a bird would land on me. Often I would wear only brown clothes-its as close as I could get to a deerskin hide dress, and I was convinced that corduroy was similar enough to bark to trick the cleverest robin that I was just part of the tree, a lumpy branch.
The other day I went to the pumphouse and I heard a snicker from the branches. Caleb was up in the evergreen, watching me. I pretended not to see, and called out for him-remembering the delight of being high up and far away from the common world. Finally he laughed and answered me, and asked me to see just how high he could now climb! When he came down, I told him an old favorite trick. How he could try and put a book or two down the back of his jeans so his hands would be free to shimmy up the trunk. And fill his sweatshirt pockets with crackers, so he could eat some, and then spread the crumbs along his legs, to lure hungry birds.
He asked excitedly “Would it work?!” and I answered “Who knows?! It might!” because the middle aged housewife in me still agrees with the Indian princess in me, especially on matters such as these.
I asked him if he had heard the wind whispering to him yet? It’s not only branches moving…it just might be God. Because, you know, He often speaks to those who are still and listening for Him…especially children of faith, who can wait for miracles in the tops of trees.