I have a little man in my life, his name is Xavier and it’s his birthday tomorrow. He’s very special to our family for lots of reason, one of which is he was born 3 months after my first child, my son Billy. Billy and Xavier (pictured together, above) had a connection from birth, and even though they are two very different little boys, they are the very best of friends.
Recently Xavier was a bit sad because he felt like he wasn’t good at anything, unlike Billy. Billy who can run faster than any five year old I know, Billy who isn’t scared of climbing or jumping off things, Billy with his brown skin, Billy who can tie his own shoelaces, Billy who knows how to play chess.
I know what it’s like to feel your own downfalls are amplified by someone else’s strengths. Don’t get me wrong, I see absolutely nothing wrong with Xavier, but from his perspective, compared to Billy’s athletic skills and agility, I can see why Xavier might sometimes feel like a pale, clumsy giant.
But why is it then, that when Billy and Xavier play together, it’s always Xavier who calls the shots? Why is Billy always happy to be Robin so Xavier can be Batman? Why is Billy happy to be Bob Irwin so Xavier can be Steve? Why is Billy always Bumblebee so Xavier can be Optimus Prime? One time after the boys had watched The Jungle Book, Billy was Mowgli and Xavier was Baloo, but only because Xavier insisted that Billy had to play Mowgli because he had brown skin.
The truth is that Billy will be whoever Xavier decides. Xavier is the one with the ideas and Billy is always happy to run with them. This is who our kids are. And as our beautiful boys grow up to value more than who is best at riding their bike and who can run the furthest without getting puffed, I know that my nephew will find his time and place to shine.
FOR MY NEPHEW
There is this special boy I know
He is my young relation
If I could tell you of just one thing
It would be his imagination
He has these grand designs in his head
Keeps them there a full gestation
Until they are ready to make themselves known
He begins to create his creation
His playmates and toys are all his pawns
Ready for manipulation
They know they are there to act out his vision
And follow without hesitation
They stand where he says and move as he wants
As he plans the configuration
And then he tells them what to do next
Unfolding the great situation
Occasionally it doesn’t work out
And we feel the wrath of frustration
But when everything turns out just right
His face shines in great jubilation
Surely this boy will go on to great things
So I watch with anticipation
But for now he’s a child playing games with his friends
And the object of my fascination