Eldest's "Box of Me"
The items he chose:
A glove he found while on a meaningful trip
A rusty piece of metal he found at his Grandparents' farm
A beautiful purple rock given to him by his Aunt
A wooden ink pen he made himself at a Scout woodworking workshop
The hand exerciser he uses to strengthen his grip for rappelling/climbing
A piece of duct tape
His Nixon watch
I can look at the contents of the box he assembled and agree that it contains the essence of what makes up my incredible Number One Son. Not many of the items would be of monetary value to anyone else, and of the ones that would, I can report that he bought them himself or made them himself.
I started thinking about how many times the content of this box of his would change over his lifetime. If he'd done the same exercise three years ago he would've had totally different items in the box. Legos maybe, candy, a book, a rock and an arrowhead. Two years from now my bet is the contents will again change altogether. Kind of a wonderful mystery-to-come of who he will be then.
Those thoughts are the same ones that, a few months ago, led to the feeling I have that my childrens' youth is slipping through my fingers, tiptoeing away quickly and quietly so that I don't notice until a large chunk is already gone. I have four more years with my oldest before he's old enough to decide to live somewhere else, do something else. Two years before he's old enough to drive himself somewhere. Time is already up on some precious things, like me being his favorite girl. Sadly that boat sailed when he was 10. I repeat mantras like "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it," I pray for my children every day, every time I pray, and yet I panic that there's something, something important, I'm forgetting to teach them. That I'm spending too much time and effort on things that may turn out to be less important than things I'm not devoting enough time to. That I put too much emphasis on those lesser important things and not enough on the crucial things that will give him the scaffolding to be a man.
Then he puts together a box like this one above, and I listen to comments my friends make about the choices he made of items to illustrate who he is, and relax just a little and recognize that he has the elements of a good man in his heart already. That maybe he'll grow up and be fine in spite of me instead of because of me. That fortunately, he has a Heavenly Father that loves him eeeeeven more than his Dad and I do - and how that is possible is so far beyond the scope of my understanding that I have to stand on faith that it's true, because I can't love anyone any more than I love that child.
I'm holding on to the few things that he hasn't yet stopped doing. He still hugs me and says I love you when he leaves to go somewhere, (provided of course no one is around). He still asks my advice when he's faced with a tough situation he can't work out on his own. He still texts me and sends me pictures when he's off with someone else. I'm told those things will go away too, at some point. I'm just enjoying them for now and trusting that even if he stops for awhile, that at some point he'll come back to it.
As I was looking at the box he put together for his assignment, I speculated about what I would put in a box to represent who I am.
I don't think my eldest would fit in the box.