Tonight I got to spend time with two darling little boys who are like faux-grandsons to me, six-year-old Michael and his nearly eight year old brother, Thomas.
I was very excited about the evening as I had Michael’s birthday present – one that I’ve been itching to give him. He turned six about 2 weeks ago and between his mom’s schedule and mine this was the first time I could get over there to give him —— Moon Shoes! Ya, I didn’t know what they were either – turns out they’re devices you put your shoes into that essentially turn your feet into springy jumping devices. Perfect for my 6-year-old Tiggerish friend.
We then did a lot of digging in his mom’s garden (with permission, of course – always important to ask Mommy before such ventures). I thought maybe we were digging to China, as I did as a child (and I always truly believed we’d get there) but turns out we were digging up a hidden Treasure Chest. For a wiry little six-year-old, given the Northern Illinois clay soil, I would say Michael did a great job. And gosh! There WAS a Treasure Chest, cleverly disguised as a big lump of dirt. He told me we had to split it open to find the treasures. So he got a shovel, whacked it in half and then was exuberant.
“Look! It’s GOLD!” He then took the dirt and crumbled it into our safekeeping secret hiding place (also known as a garbage can) crowing excitedly – look at all our gold! We’ve got gold!”
So I sang him a John Prine song:
“You’ve got gold
Gold inside of you
I’ve got some
gold inside me too”
And then he sang along, happily creating gold from dirt.
I’m not a Mom. Or a real Grandma. And while I’m a doting Aunt and Grand-Aunt my nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews live far away. Michael and his 8-year-old brother Thomas are two of my major inlets into the wonderful, magical realm of childhood and time with them is both a gift and a lesson.
Because every day I have the opportunity to turn dirt into gold. All the time. I just usually see it as “only dirt” and miss the magic. And when I see the love in my young friends eyes, despite all my incredible failings, I DO believe that I’ve got gold inside of me. And you know – you’ve got gold, gold inside you too. Check it out. And who knows – you may have a hidden treasure box in your garden too – you just never know….