19 January 2011

Love That Man

Love That Boy
by Walter Dean Myers

Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him "Hey there, son!"

He walk like his Grandpa,
Grins like his Uncle Ben.
I said he walk like his Grandpa,
And grins like his Uncle Ben.
Grins when he’s happy,
When he sad, he grins again.

His mama like to hold him,
Like to feed him cherry pie.
I said his mama like to hold him.
Like to feed him that cherry pie.
She can have him now,
I’ll get him by and by.

He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He’ll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done.

(Okay, well, Eamon doesn't eat cherry pie because he eschews with a firm hand almost all sweets, and he doesn't have an Uncle Ben. But the rest is all pretty accurate.)


Aaron Wolfe is a rock star.

Just ask his son.

They first met approximately 2 minutes after Eamon plunged head first from the womb to the world. The doctor people placed Eamon on my chest, and Aaron came over and said something mundane, like “Hey there, buddy.” And in that instant, Eamon learned to swivel his head so that he could stare at his father with these intense eyes that said, “Oh my gosh. You must be my daddy. I love you and your work. Please let me be your BFF and follow you around and do everything that you do because seriously, you are the coolest guy ever.”

It’s easy to see how Eamon came to that conclusion. While I was pregnant, Aaron would read to Eamon every night (yes, through my stomach, but I don’t think that bothered either of them). He read things like The Arsonists Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, or John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise, which are creative and quirky and cool. Meanwhile, during the daytime Eamon listened to me teach 4th graders how to do long division.

With a choice like that, you can see why he decided to idolize his father.

And his father has not yet failed to disappoint. Daddy (or, currently, the Daddy known as “Dee’DA!”) is fun. He wrestles. He can throw Eamon around like a pairs-figure skater and (this is important) catch him, too. He always has a smile and a sweet word for his son, who loves, venerates, and worships his father with pure, unmasked adoration.

Eamon’s mother, meanwhile, does things like fix him dinner and cut his toenails.

(Eamon does not like to have his toenails cut. As far as I know, I am the only person who has ever had the privilege of this chore, and yet strangely he does not esteem me anymore than he does anyone else because of it.)

Another person might be jealous of the bond that Eamon has with his father, but for the life of me, I can’t work up that emotion. I love that Aaron and Eamon have this special relationship. I know that Eamon loves me, even if he doesn’t necessarily idolize me like he does his father. I’ve taught too many kids who had conflicted or nonexistent relationships with their fathers…I’m just so glad that Eamon has this wonderful male figure to help guide him through life, who understands where he’s coming from, who can have “The Talk” with him, who is already coming up with ways to teach the kid to pee accurately while standing (trust me, folks, I would have never thought of these ways, or even that I needed to have them)…who is a Good Dad and can teach my son to be a Good Man.

And as for me, well, Eamon and I will always have his toenails.*

I’m pretty sure that one day...that will count for something.

*Not literally. For heaven’s sake, I don’t mean that we keep them or anything.

Aaron, for some reason, was far more interested in eating his dinner than posing for blog pictures.

Eamon, however, could be cajoled into smiling...

...as long as afterwards, he could pretend to give his father a nice long drink of pepper ("Yum!" Eamon reminded Aaron to say after finishing.)

"You gotta hear this one song. It'll change your life, I swear."

"He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He’ll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done."

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