Tony Woodlief | Author

Fighter, Dreamer, Hero

Several of you had very thoughtful critiques of my last post regarding what I see as an unconscionable intermingling of politics and faith by AFR, which I will reply to soon. But for now, let’s talk about something we can all agree on, which is the unfathomable, almost unbearable cuteness of my children.

Isaac has escalated his campaign to procure another Tootsie Roll. Often after dinner we’ll let the two older boys each have a piece of candy from their Halloween bags. Isaac is no dummy; he knows that’s where the Tootsie Rolls come from. So as they sit on the floor, rummaging through their candy for exactly the right treat to follow Dad’s lasagna — as if anything could improve upon such a feast — Isaac toddles over to them and begins to assert ownership over their cache by stooping down on his stumpy little legs and squawking in their ears.

The boys giggle, they scoot away, they continue to rummage. So a couple of nights ago, realizing his screeches weren’t having the desired effect, he walked his wobbly walk over to where a wooden spoon lay, picked it up, wobbled back, and whacked Caleb on the head with it. Having secured his older brother’s attention, he hollered more Baby-speak that can be translated roughly: “Give me a freaking Tootsie Roll you big selfish goober.”

We disarmed the child and hauled him away. I’ve never seen a 13-month old glare so. Perhaps we should have named him Cain.

The next day, Eli came up to his mother, holding a paper phone colored and cut out by his older brother. “Mom, the phone ringed.”

“It did?”

“Yeah. It was the chocolate guy.” He popped a chocolate kiss in his mouth.

I used to think candy was just something we give to children because we like for them to enjoy the taste. Only now am I discovering its vast comedic value.

Caleb, the oldest, the pioneer, has started riding his bicycle sans training wheels. This wasn’t a calculated decision; one of them flew off and I couldn’t find the bolt, so it was easier just to take the other one off. Balance, push, and off he went across our front yard, scaring me to death as he looked back to tell me that he was riding his bike without training wheels, me the one person in the world most fully aware of that, aware as well of all the large merciless trees in his proximity.

But he missed them all, and rode and rode. Later, he, Eli, and their new little neighbor friend had a convoy going down our little-traveled street. Caleb started to fall, and instinctively reached out, causing his little friend to topple. At the last second he grabbed the boy’s shirt, and so they started to fall the other direction. Somehow he got his foot down in time and righted the both of them. “It’s okay,” Caleb said as he patted the boy on the back, “I saved you.”

My sons: the fighter, the dreamer, and the hero. A man could do worse.

On Key

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