Ga and the blue house

August 15, 2009

My toddler son has his own house.  It’s blue, with a big tree in front.  Sometimes it’s easy to get to – just up the road, down the road, up the road.  Sometimes it’s way far in the mountain, and you have to take an airplane to get there.

He has an office in his house.  Upstairs.  It’s where he keeps his cookies.  He does his work in his office.  He puts out fires and builds houses with the help of his friend, Ga.  Ga is a big worker guy.  He can do all the things my son can’t, like use power tools. 

My son is convinced that if he uses power tools the police will come and take him away.  I swear this is not an idea I put into his head.  But however it got there, this belief has terrified him away from the power tools in the garage. 

At his blue house, my son can do whatever he wants.  He and his friend Ga drive tractors (Ga likes bulldozers, but my son prefers backhoes).  They throw golf balls at the house and the windows never break.  They cut down trees with chainsaws. 

But mostly, they build things and fight fires – the two things my son desperately wants to do, but sadly, at a month shy of three years old, he cannot find anyone willing to hire him to perform these tasks.

Ga is so tall his head hits the ceiling.  He can even reach the stuff hidden on top of the kitchen cupboards.  My son hides cookies there, but Ga doesn’t steal them.  He only gets them down when my son asks him to. 

Ga is super duper extra strong – he can even carry him all the way up the hill to our house when my son is tired of walking. 

Sometimes, it makes my heart hurt to see how desperately he wants to grow up.  He wants to be tall and drive a car (and more importantly, a tractor). 

He shakes with tearful frustration when the few short two-by-fours his grandpa gave him will not cooperate and magically turn into a house when he beats on them with his toy hammer. 

I want to tell him to cling to that incredible imagination.  What I wouldn’t do to so effortlessly create for myself a new house and a trusty sidekick to carry me when I’m weary. 

I wish he could understand that lots of real worker guys would love to have their house building efforts interrupted by naptime and a warm bath.  I want to warn him that some day he’ll have a real house, with leaky plumbing and a hefty mortgage, and that he won’t keep friends long if he isn’t ever willing to share. 

But, like all of us, my son can only conceptualize life through his own limited experience.  He sees worker guys having all the fun, and that’s it. 

If only he could hold onto that idea until he is old enough to handle a table saw.  That may just be the secret to happiness – to somehow hold onto all those dreams and aspirations until they become a reality. 

The other day, my son wanted to take a walk to his blue house.  I asked what direction we should go.  He looked up and down the street, shaking his head in confusion, fighting back tears. 

“It’s just up the road, down the road, up the road,” he said. 

My wish for my son is that someday he’ll find that blue house.  And when he gets there, it’s just like he’d imagined.

This article first appeared in the Lewistown News-Argus and the Sidney (Mont.) Herald on August 15, 2009.