My son is in love with no immediate plans to marry. His plan is to live at home forever. From what I read in the papers, this is a common enough goal for kids these days, but since Max is only 5, we aren’t too worried yet.
Over dinner last weekend, my little guy informed me that when he gets old enough to get a job like Dad, I can pack his lunch. While I will always be secure in the knowledge that I am Max’s first love, I know that food is a close second.
Rough and tumble at home, Max has always been a bit timid out in public. He didn’t like to separate. As he approached kindergarten age, I started to wonder if he would readily participate in activities our other school-aged children enjoy.
Max may not be heading off to kindergarten in the traditional sense — we plan to homeschool him as well — but we have been encouraging him to become more independent. Someday, he might change his mind about living at home forever. We want him to be ready.
Last week, Max decided to join the other 5-year-olds for Sunday School. An hour later, he came out of class beaming. “It’s a good thing I went to class,” he told me. “I got there just in time for a cupcake.”
A few weeks ago, I brought home the movie “Cars.” Max looked at me with the purest expression of love. Max had been asking Brian to get the movie for a while and, frankly, Brian had failed in his role as procurer of movies. For once, I got the credit for bringing home a movie, just in time for movie night.
As my No. 1 fan and protector, Max is anxious to help me with farm chores, but he is fickle in his responsibility. He can’t go outside if it is too hot or too cold. His favorite chore involves sitting on an overturned bucket, keeping me company. Keeping company is an important job, he reminds me. And so, there he was one morning while I attempted to milk Big Lily, our back-up cow.
In order to make milk, a cow needs to have a calf. For the couple months preceding the birth of the calf, it is important to stop milking. With our gentle cow, Mocha, set to deliver next month, her milk supply has dried up. We thought that Big Lily might agree to share the milk she has for her calf with our family. We’d separate Big Lily and her calf overnight, and then I’d milk in the morning with my observer perched close by. This worked for about a month.
Then one day, Lily decided she’d had enough. She had a new agreement in mind. She would stop kicking me if I stopped milking her. After the first 10 kicks, I was ready to agree.
Walking back to the house with an empty bucket, Max put his arm around me. “Mom,” he said, “when I get bigger, I’ll milk Big Lily so you don’t have to. And I’ll save the bucket before she kicks it over, too.”
Later that day, we had visitors, a neighbor girl about his age. She entered the house crying, nervous that the dog was barking. My little protector jumped into action.
“Don’t worry about the dog,” Max said, slipping his shoes on and heading out the door. “I’m not afraid. I can handle it.” My little man is growing up. He can handle it, he says. The question is, can I?
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