style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
Of my three children, he’s often the most like me. Note the painful joy as he eats a pizza! Yet, unlike me, he’s calm, even-tempered and rarely flustered. He’s proudly named after his maternal grandfather. He’s a first-born son and a middle child. Today, I find myself reminiscing and reflecting as he turns eighteen. Thanks for indulging me.
Peter has been dropping truth bombs since he was a child.
Three of my most favorite Peter Tales follow…
The Phantom Horse
It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Matthew has gone to pick up the turkey at Whole Foods. The kids and I are home getting the house ready. We’re hosting.
It’s misty and foggy outside. I’m getting dressed in my bathroom. As I come out into the family room, Peter announces that he just saw a horse in our front yard. He’s four years old.
Okay, sure. Whatever you say.
I ask a few questions, showing my interest in his tall tale. He carefully explains what transpired while I was in the bathroom.
The horse is brown and really big. It ran that way, right past the front window!
Wow, a real horse. That’s very interesting.
I look outside, I definitely don’t see a horse.
Moments later, he mentions that the horse is now out back. I play along, asking questions. The dark, dreary day adds to the mystery of this invisible horse. I look again. No horse.
Seconds later, as I stand in the kitchen, I watch a really big brown horse run right past our front windows. I gasp and go to the door. The horse is in a frenzied, full-blown gallop around our house. My mouth hangs open. My horse-crazed daughter runs to her room to grab a bridle, certain she can tame this lovely, wild creature.
Peter is squealing with joy and a hint of ‘I told you so’ delight.
The story ends with a neighbor coaxing the horse into their barn. Turns out something had spooked the animal causing it to jump the fence and enjoy a tour of our neighborhood.
You’d think this experience would have been enough to make me take Peter’s word for anything… but no. It took a couple more truth bombs for me to get there.
The Tomato Plague
Something was eating my gorgeous tomato plants. The leaves were being destroyed. The plant was dying. I was convinced it was some sort of Tomato Plague. I was puzzled by this development as I'd always been able to grow tomatoes easily. Then I spied a large, (big as my index finger) lumpy, bright green worm on the back of a leaf. Young Peter took one look and was quick to chime in…
That’s a Tomato Hornworm.
Huh? A what?
Yeah, I’m positive it's a Tomato Hornworm! I read about them in that nature book Grandma Karen gave us. It’s in my room. I’ll go get it.
He reappeared a few minutes later with the nature book. His dirty fingers tucked securely inside, carefully marking the correct spot. Sure enough… a two-page spread on the Tomato Hornworm.
Peter read from the book, educating me on this unusual looking bug as if he'd spent years researching it's existence. It was identical to the intriguing creature that was devouring my tomato plants. The same creature that I’d never heard of in my entire life!
The Hydrangea Warts
Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. They remind me of the simple joys of summer. Early one spring, I noticed that the hydrangea bush behind our house had warts. More specifically, several of its thick branches had grey-brown nodules on them. They matched the color and texture of the trunk almost exactly. They were about the size of a bouncy ball. The plant appeared infected.. or at least warty.
In passing, I mention the lumps to Peter. I shared my concern that the plant might be dying and that I might have to endure a hydrangea-free summer. He chimed in immediately…
It’s okay, Mom. Those are just Praying Mantis nests. They won’t hurt the plant.
Say what?! Who is this kid, I wonder to myself. Where did all of his random knowledge come from? Does he research odd subjects in his free time? What's in that special 'nature book'?
Thankfully, Google was on the scene by now. We do a quick search. Sure enough, we find evidence that the knobby lumps on my plant are indeed Praying Mantis nests!
Side note… I have always been unusually intrigued by the Praying Mantis. So this discovery left me positively giddy!
We learn that Praying Mantis typically hatch around the 24th of May (which was less than a month away). And that there are between 100 and 200 babies in each nest! So we wait. And then... magic.
We check the nest regularly. Right on time, we're lucky enough to witness fully formed, teeny tiny, perfect Praying Mantis babies as they march out of the nest and down the branches and leaves of the bush. A full blown miracle! Nature at its finest. WOW!
Over the years, Peter has continued to amaze me with the randomness of the things he knows. I’ve grown to count on Peter to know things. Strange, uncommon things. I value his insight and input and I’m regularly in awe of the vastness of his personal database.
Today he turns 18.
As this is the second time a child of mine has turned eighteen, I’m slightly more prepared for the emotional fallout. This threshold between childhood and adulthood is tough on moms. Though I know my parenting doesn’t end with this milestone birthday, it still stings.
I hope I’ve taught Peter ‘all the things’. And actually, in looking back, I realize he’s likely taught me just as much.
Happy Birthday to you, Peter Cain. You continue to dazzle me with the things you know and more importantly, with the person you are.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the merry, merry month of May. Keep your eye out for Praying Mantis babies...
I'll be back in June.