Friday, April 01, 2005


Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

Little Manly has taken to an amusing little habit that I thought you'd all enjoy hearing about. He's been doing extremely well, both in school and at home. His teachers relate that in addition to doing very well academically, his classmates all look up to him, and he doesn't even realize or take note of it. He makes a point of looking out for his classmates, and he tries to get everyone involved. He is attentive to people.

When Little Manly was littler, we could never interest him in stuffed animals. He got everything from Teddy Bears to a big donkey that scared all of us when we came across it in the dark. A beautiful felt frog (Sorry Sue), anything at all, he wasn't interested. This went on for years.

Just a couple of years ago, we received one of those Serta Sheep (I wish I knew what number), and it made all of us laugh so much, we made Little Manly keep it. Every night, when we said prayers and sang our little song together (that's another story for another time), Sheepie would be there too. A year or so later, we were on one of our annual trips to Cape Cod, and we picked up Sharkey. So every night, saying prayers, singing together, Mrs. Dadmanly, Little Manly, and I, and my daughters Jilly Beans and Spud too if they were with us, Sheepie and Sharkey.

When I left home for mobilization training and deployment, I wanted to get Little Manly something that would help him get through me being away, something from me. I got him a lion, and told him about the strength God can give us during difficult times. So Liony joined our nighttime club. At our unit Christmas party just before going overseas, the Family Readiness Group gave the kids Army Bears, and that brought Beary. I'm told since I've been gone, there's a Beary Junior now too.

I think there was a point somewhere along the line when those stuffed animals became what stuffed animals have always been, comfort.

Which brings me back to that funny habit that I said Little Manly has started up. His mom tells me that all day long, no matter what he's doing, he wants them to sing a song together. Not our bedtime song, but "Home on the Range." He sings it while he's brushing his teeth. He sings it while he's eating breakfast, while he's in the bathroom (ahem), in the car, all the time.

Mrs. Dadmanly couldn't figure out where he got it from or why he picked it up. I ran through the lyrcis in my mind, and it occurred to me.

Home, home on the range,
where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard
a discouraging word,
and the skies are not cloudy all day.
Mrs. Dadmanly's been pretty stressed out the past week or so, she had a bad week, and she's really missing our being together. Phone calls, email, IM, it helps a little bit, but there is just so much she has do do by herself, or her and Little Manly when there used to be me too.

"Hon," I told her, " I think God gave Little Manly that song for you."

A place where there is no discouragement, where the sun is always bright, and there's always sun coming out in the morning. Out with the deer and the antelope. Playing.

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