It's been kind of a long couple of weeks. We've had an extra kiddo, all day every day, and her presence has thrown a monkey wrench into my own kids' routines and expectations. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can cause some problems.
It can especially be a problem for my straightforward son. You know the one I'm talking about. Simon, the introvert and Mr. Literal of our kid patch. He's been a real champ about the whole thing but yesterday he reached the outer limits of his patience.
My three kids plus the extra were playing in the backyard in the afternoon and everyone was alive so I was happy with that. Pretty soon, however, things started going downhill. Every five minutes one or another of the kids would come find me to air a grievance (also known as tattling) or cry about the unfairness of something. They all took several turns doing this.
Finally Simon couldn't take it anymore. It's hard enough for him to be around other people for long, but other people in conflict? Forget about it. His shoulders slumped and his head hung as he approached me.
"Can I take a break from all this whining and sit in the front yard?" he asked.
"Of course," I said.
"Can I watch for the Carson's van to get home from school?"
"Ye-es." I could sense a set-up.
Simon stood up a little straighter. "Can I watch for Packard to get out of the van?"
"Why don't you just come out with it, buddy?" I asked.
"Okay, can I ask Pack to come play with me?"
This is what I had been expecting and I was happy to say yes. I watched through the window as Simon sat in the front yard and waited and waited until the van pulled up next door, then waited and waited as all the kids piled out of it. When he finally saw his good buddy Pack his face lit up and he shouted across the street.
"Ask your mom if you can come play!"
In a few short minutes, Simon and Pack were in the backyard, doing whatever little boys do outside when it's sunny. They played until dinnertime, when I had to send Pack home and call my kiddos in. Simon came running into the kitchen with a smile on his face.
"Are you feeling better now?" I asked.
Simon nodded and told me, with wisdom well beyond his years: "Sometimes a guy just needs his best friend."