Monday, April 4, 2016

Snakes, Stages And Thank"sssss LitllBee"..."I Love You Too!" Jim Terry

     I recently was able to go home and spend some time with family in Idaho.  Upon my arrival, I was welcomed with open arms from my sister and her family who were allowing me to stay at their home.  As I walked up the stairs and into the back bedroom where I was going to be staying, I noticed several drawings of snakes that were carefully placed upon the bed in which I was going to be sleeping.  I witnessed a very familiar handwriting and signature placed upon each picture that I had seen before.  It was from my nephew Benson also known, in his own words, as "LitllBee" (Little Bee).
 He loves to draw snakes for me because I told him once about my fear of snakes after being bitten when I was a young boy. He also attempts, at every chance he gets, to scare the bajeezus out of me by hissing, "ssssssssss," and jumping out from behind corners. As my sister entered the room and because it was close to eleven o’clock pm, she gave me a description of each and every drawing and what they meant in lieu of my nephew not being able to do it himself since his bedtime was at eight.  She continued by saying, “And just for your information, he is in an interesting stage right now. Night.”
      I had to ask myself  “what stage is that?” 

     As she proceeded to slowly yet gently close the door, she glanced back at me with a witty and clever “just you wait” look.

     After she left the room, it made me think for a moment about what the stages of life are.  So I did a quick search and this is what I found on the internet…

Usual Starting Age
from birth
about 1
about 2
about 5
about 11
Young adult
about 20
Mature adult
late 20’s

     It was clear from my research, that my nephew was conclusively and positively in the “schoolchild” stage.  He clearly fits the description…six years old and now going to school.  As I continued to read the description further about this stage, I proceeded to ask myself another question, “how hard could that be?”

     I awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to face my day. My nephew told my sister he would “allow me to sleep until eight…if I needed to.”  You have to realize that life for my sister and her husband starts, NOT AT, but BEFORE the crack of dawn due to having three small kids in their home ranging in age from one to six years old.  I figured that since I was permitted to have a good night’s sleep from the consideration of my nephew, that I would be able to return the favor to my sister and detain at least one or two of the kids with afternoon activities which would then allow her to catch a much needed nap.  She recommended I take her oldest, my nephew, to the park to play, “fly the quadcopter” and run out some of his energy.

     It was a beautiful day with white puffy clouds, light breezes and temperatures in the low to mid sixties.  The breath of spring was in the air and noticeable due to the several blades of green grass popping through the dead brown landscape that was formed from old man winter’s touch. On the way to the park, we also noticed some bright flowering tulips on the south side of some of the homes we passed and even observed the beginning stages of some buds on the trees just waiting to unfold in the warmth of the sun’s light.

     We had three, fully charged, batteries with us that would allow us to fly his quadcopter for sometime.  While flying his quadcopter in the park, Benson noticed that a dog being walked by his owner was a bit too curious about his flying toy.  I kept reassuring him that the dog wouldn’t ruin his toy and we would keep it safe. It was about twenty minutes later when the gentleman and the dog, who were walking the circumference of the park, crossed our path. It was to my disappointment and dismay that I heard the following statement come from my nephew's mouth... 

     “You know your dog is gonna get it if he ruins my quadcopter don’t you?”

     I think we, myself and the man with the dog, were both so speechless from my nephew’s remark, that all we could do is to provide each other a puzzled look as he continued on with his dog.  I was beginning to have just a small taste of what my sister’s comment meant about my nephew being “in an interesting stage right now.”

     After a long talk with him about manners and respecting adults and making him apologize to the man with the dog, we then left the park and continued to run a couple of errands.  I quickly found out by the end of day one, that the stage my sister was referring to is one that consists of argumentative, quarrelsome, always being right repartee. This type of behavior with my nephew was relentless, directed towards everyone and continued throughout the four days that I was there and, admittedly, really started to annoy me.

     During my last night at my sister’s home, I was able to have a pleasant discussion with her and my brother-in-law. As we sat on their couch and talked about life and, yes, “LittlBee’s” stage that he is in right now, I have to confess that I had the opportunity to reconsider what stage of life I was in shortly following the end of our discussion. 

     Do you remember how back in the day before iPhones and all the cool technology we have now to help keep us organized, we would, or at least I would, write important events on a calendar so I could remember them?  Well, it was upon the conclusion of our conversation that night and just before we all went to bed that my sister pointed out that Benson had a calendar in his room and had marked out two very important events in his life. She enthusiastically recommended that I “check it out” before I went to bed. 

     As I went up the stairs to his room and quietly opened the door as to not wake him, I noticed the calendar my sister spoke of hanging on his wall at a perfect height for a young boy of age six to write on.  As I tip toed across the room in order to get a closer look and just as my sister stated, there were only two dates marked out in the month of February. 

     Apparently he had been so excited for his Uncle Jim to come visit him, that he clearly wrote my name on the 19th, when I arrived, and again on the 22nd, when I was headed back to California.  The only other thing written on the calendar was a Dad and son outing, also on the 22nd, that was for the “Harlin globe” (Harlem Globetrotters). 

     At the moment I saw this, I literally had to reexamine what stage of life I was in.  Was I really in the “mature adult” stage?  Maybe “LittlBee,” my nephew, was the “mature adult” and I was the “schoolchild” just trying to catch up?  How could something as simple a name written on a calendar make someone feel so small yet also make you feel so wonderful at the same time?  I felt like the grinch who stole Christmas when he realized that a situation, which he perceived in an entirely different light, may be just a "little bit more" and easily made my heart grow "three sizes that day." 
     Yes, a lesson was indeed learned on this particular night by an old "schoolchild."  So before I left his room and because I was feeling a bit guilty about my own behavior I had exhibited that weekend–yet grateful at the same time to this young child for helping an older man realize some of my own faults–I looked over at this sweet little nephew of mine whose face was dimly lit by the warm pale light and thanked him by quietly whispering, “thank'ssssssss' LitllBee...I love you too!” 

     What stage of life are you in?

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