Every free minute that Branson has in his little life of 9 years, he spends running the neighborhood barefoot with friends. If we have 5 minutes between getting ready for school and leaving for school, he dashes up the street to chat with the bus stop kids. If he gets home from scouts at 6:30 when it's getting dark and dinner needs eating, he gets a few neighbors together and starts a game. If it's 6am on a Saturday...doesn't matter, he's off. He's literally addicted to playing with friends. Saturday was no different. As soon as he had finished up his little sewing project, eaten and mowed the lawn, he was out to find a pack of boys to run with.
About two hours later he came in the house with eyes red from tears, a swollen nose that had doubled in size and a shirt soaked in blood. He was followed by a familiar group of his friends- all with a tad bit of suspiciousness smeared about their faces.
I assessed the situation and quickly cut in front of the little, male entourage and said,
"Hey guys, why don't you all wait out side while I talk to Branson."
Out they went and then I reached for Bransons hand and escorted him to my room where I ran a bath and helped him to get in. When he was relaxed and calming down, I put an ice pack on his nose and asked for the whole story from the beginning. It was a classic childhood tale...
Branson: Hey I can do a back flip at gymnastics.
Friends: No you cant.
B: Yes huh, on the bouncy floor at gymnastics I can.
Friends: Then do it.
B: No, I need the bouncy floor.
This conversation repeated itself a few times until one of the friends, (who happened to be brandishing an air-soft gun) said,
"If you don't, I am going to shoot you with this gun."
Whereupon, Branson used his stellar 9 year old decision making skills and went for the back tuck...landing square on his cute little nose.
Blood spattered everywhere, the friend with the gun was quickly tattled on and punished and then the shamed little troop of man boys, had escorted the bleeding child home.
I sat next to the tub running my fingers through Branson's brown hair. My soul was swelling up with love and concern for him and I wanted to say the right things-to teach the right lessons. I said a quick prayer for guidance and then I asked him questions like,
"What did your heart tell you to do?"
"Will you listen to your friends next time or your heart?"
I so wish that my rambunctious, social, high energy little man didn't have to learn things the hard way, but for some reason he does. I can only hope that he is learning some of these lessons young when the consequences are as small as a bruised nose and a stained T-shirt.
And you should know that before the sun went down, he was back out in the street playing in the hose with his friends.
I tell you what that boy is something else.