Lately, the Small Humans have been spending much of their after-school, but pre-practices-and-dinner time on the straw bales that are stacked out back. They’re haphazardly lined up, one after another, in row after row, awaiting the winter season when they’ll be all that stands between the pigs and the frigid cold Ma Nature promises. There are small spaces between them that create a maze of alleys; they run north and south, east and west. It’s a farm kid’s wonderland.
And so, they play.
They duck in and out, climb and jump from one bale to the next. They push each other off in a game of king of the straw bales and I pretend not to see it happening from my office window. They could poke an eye out with that.
They race from one group of bales to another; it’s funny how consistently one of them is the rotten egg, but still never objects to another round of, “ready, set, go!”
I’ve been encouraging them to take The Pig Dog. Hoping they’d run a bit of whatever-it-is-that-has-him-on-my-very-last-nerve out. His adolescence, I suppose.
And they have. And it has. He hasn’t been quite so rambunctious lately.
This age is hard. It’s hard on him and hard on me. He wants so badly to help, to do, to be employed, but he’s still so young, so immature. It’s just not time, but tell that to his soulful eyes.
It wasn’t until this afternoon, as I watched them from the window as I listened in on a conference call, that I realized how much he thinks the straw bales are his job. He lays atop them, watching intently, wherever they put him. Second in? Fourth from the right? He’s there. And then they point and he leaps to the next, lays, watches, waits. He’s a good boy, which is something I often need reminded of when he’s trying to eat the dining table.
I fear the day they stop going to the straw bales, but for now, I’m ever grateful for very odd jobs.