Monday, February 16, 2009

The Elder Heart

Allow me to tell you about my son...

When the boys were very small (toddler/stroller age), I would take them for walks through the neighborhood, to the park, around the block...

One day, in the middle of the sidewalk, a poor struggling worm caught the boys' attention. Chances are the worm had started its trek in the morning when the concrete was still cool and damp from the dew, but it then had been trapped by the sun and heat and couldn't make it any farther.
It seemed wrong to just stand there and watch it suffer, so...
With my skin crawling, I picked it up and gently placed it in the grass.
"I don't know if I saved it," I told the boys, "but he'll have a better chance now."

I should have known better.
Everytime we came across a worm on the sidewalk after that, the boys would point it out and beg me to "save it".
(It happened so much more often than you would believe...)

Then, one afternoon...
The worm on the sidewalk was downright crispy, like a strip of fried bacon crispy.
"Save it, Momma!"
"I'm sorry, guys. It's too late."
"Try!" Elder Son begged.

Oh crap.
Must we have the death and dying conversation so young?
Over a worm?

"Honey, there's nothing we can do to help it anymore."

He wailed, pulled away from me, and sprinted home. I called after him, but I couldn't chase him with Younger Son in tow. At least he was going home. He'd be fine.
But, moments later, he came running back.
And he was carrying the sprinkler can.

With tears streaming down his face, he gently poured water on the crispy critter.
After a moment, I picked up the wet (but still dead, so dead) worm and placed it in the grass.
And gave my boy a hug.
"You did good, honey."

***

This is my Elder Son.
His heart has only grown larger since.

Happy Birthday, honey bunny.

7 comments:

Rave said...

Happy Birthday Elder son!

Thumper said...

Happy birthday to a sweet guy! My kid..he would have asked for a magnifying glass to fry the poor worms...

vw bug said...

Happy birthday to the old one. ;-)

Mrs. Who said...

What a kind and thoughtful heart. Happy Birthday to him!

Danyell said...

You have such a sweet, empathetic boy. :)

Harvey said...

Does that mean I shouldn't invite him to go fishing? :-)

Roses said...

Harvey: As long as the worm gets water, it's all good. ;-)