This is one of my very favorite pictures of D. He was just over 2 when this was made and it was at this time that he was just beginning to really show us what he was made of.
My husband, Mark is a very athletic fellow. If it's a game and involves a ball, Mark can do it and with excellence. When our son was born, Mark and I talked about how cool it was going to be that Mark would have a ball buddy. We pictured the two of them together swinging bats in the batting cage, shootin' hoops and watching Cubs baseball together. But D would have none of that. We also talked about all the boy toys and how it was going to be great to have something besides pink clothes, dolls, and hair accessories. I think I was mostly looking forward to that because my sister and I never had cars and Star Wars toys or even LEGOs. Now I had an excuse to have those things in my house. We also began to put away breakables, because I had heard that boys aren't necessary malicious or mean; they just play rough. We anxiously awaited the day when the baby developed into the boy child who would soon become a young man.
I remember clearly the first signs of boyhood. It is comical to think of but, yes, I do remember the first time D began to realize he was all boy and associate with his Daddy. I remember because it broke my heart. At 13 months old, D weened himself. It took 2 days. That's it! He was old enough and I was OK with it, but I knew our cuddle time was over. He did not want me to rock him to sleep and he did not want to sit in my lap. D wanted to be free to play and play he did.
It was at this time that he also began to talk. D said Daddy first - not Mommy and at 18 months he would walk through the house saying such things as,
"Daddy boy, Declin Boy"
"Kayla geril" (all right folks that was the best his barely 18 month old self could do)
D was identifying himself with his Dad but not in ways that we thought and not in every way. Over time we have learned some very cool things about D.
1. D is very protective. He did not want people in his room unless invited. His sisters were great for picking on as long as he was the one picking on them. Let some one else tease his sisters and war was waged.
2. D is very sensitive to the needs of others. He gives great hugs and, unlike his dad, D is a people person. He filled with compassion. D notices hurting people and wants to help.
3. D does not like ball...not even a little bit. Here is where Daddy had to adapt. We were shocked - and I am not sure why - that D had no interest in ballgames of any kind. Instead, D loves Nascar and tools and history and READING and guns and...did I mention he likes to read?
4. D is very creative. He draws amazing pictures and writes wonderful stories, not Mark but he loves D's drawings and does read his stories.
Ok, I could go on and on about all the qualities of my son, but I won't. I just want to point out that the text book description of what a little boy should be...well, it does not always apply and just because a boy's Daddy enjoys certain things, that does not mean his little boy will follow right in his footsteps.
One last thing, I once had a precious lady from our church watch the kids for me so that I could go to a doctors appointment. D was 3 or 4 at the time. When I returned home she said to me, "Your D is just so sweet. He listens to you and plays so nice and doesn't sit in front of the TV for hours at a time. I wish my grandsons were this sweet, but your D is just not like other boys."
What??? How was I supposed to take that. Was she saying that there was something wrong with our son? Then the following year we not only had our fourth child, another girl, but we also chose to begin homeschooling. This "not like other boys" boy was going to be home all day with three girls. What ever would we do?