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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Extended family a source of endless fun and support

© Another Day in the Country

“Oh, Wow!”

Having extended family nearby is something country dwellers often take for granted. I’m lucky to have cousins and their kids living within a few miles of Ramona.

One of my extended family members is my cousin’s grandson. Clayton is five years old now and before long will be “graduating” from kindergarten. 

He’s such a sweet kid and it’s my privilege to watch him growing up and my pleasure to imagine him becoming an adult part of our family.

We were at his Grandparents’  house, celebrating my cousin Gary’s birthday, and Clayton was all dressed up in his hockey gear — he’s learning a new sport and he was very keen to be out running in the grass rather than eating supper. 

Someone at the table commented on how fast time flies — those conversations do tend to erupt at birthday parties. “He’ll graduate in the Class of 2032” his mother commented. 2032! 

Whoever heard of such a date? When I hear a far-off date like that I always wonder, “Will I last that long?”

I must have said it out loud because Kristina said, “Sure you will.”

“Holy cow,” I muttered, “I’ll be 90 something…I suppose it’s doable.”

Right now Clayton is into legos.

He loves playing with them. He also likes to pretend he’s a doctor.  I gave him some pill bottles filled with different colored candies for dispensing curing medicines.  

Licorice pastels work really well because they come in a variety of colors.  I made the red ones the “cure for tummy aches,” and the pink ones, “for taking when you’re grouchy.”

He’s very serious about his doctoring skills and is eager to “treat his patients,” with a Band-Aid, if you hint at any kind of scratch. It’s so much fun to be part of this little guys life.

He’s learning to make conversation with adults, “How was your day?” he’ll ask when I show up, emulating his father. I watch his sense of humor developing as he jokes and teases, like his mother. I see glimpses of the chap he will be in 2032.

For a while Clayton was obsessed with being a fireman, then it was a policeman.

Recently he’s become a fan of Spiderman. He and I tried to do a Spiderman painting project the other evening and he was somewhat discouraged by the outcome. There was a specific way that Spiderman needed to look — certain colors, the slant of the eyes. My little buddy was getting discouraged.

Even when I tried to help he pleaded “You’ve got to get that spider right on his back.” I didn’t even know Spiderman had a design there.

He takes his role as “big brother” seriously. His little sister (who isn’t even two, yet) likes to parade around the house with beads around her neck or bangles on her wrists and she’ll hold out her arms like a prissy lady and calls out to him, “Clay-clay”, her version of his name. What she wants is for him to notice, look at her, say “Oh, Wow! Madilyn,” and then she is a happy camper. He’s quite patient, saying it over and over.

One afternoon, he was busy with his Legos and she wanted his attention. She was hovering around him, getting in his way. 

He reached over her, her head bobbed up as his head went down and she bonked his lip against his teeth, breaking the skin on his lip — and it hurt terribly.

Blood was running everywhere, the baby girl was bewildered, and big brother was crying out in pain, sobbing.

Their mother came to staunch the blood, soothe the pain, give some help — like mothers do.
And Clayton, still sobbing said, “I’m so mad at Madilyn right now,”  he had to catch his breath, “I’m so mad that the next time she wants me to look at her with beads on, I AM NOT going to say, “Oh, Wow!” 

It was another day in the country, and I know that feeling! I have it, too.

It happens when I listen to folks who are supposed to be leading our nation and they say things that aren’t true. It makes me sad. It hurts my heart.  I get weary of it all. I get so mad that I turn off the television. I don’t listen to the news.  Even if they manage to get something right, at some point,  I am not going to say, “Oh, Wow!”

Last modified May 1, 2019

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