Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I am so thankful that James, at age ten, is not yet at the stage where he is interested in girls. Hopefully we have a few more years until he is awash with teenage boy hormones, but in the meantime, he has taken a fancy to a girl he met while staying up at his Granny and Papa’s house a few weeks ago. Carly is the granddaughter of my in-law’s neighbor, and she is often at her grandmother’s house during the summer days. She’s a year or so younger than James, and very much a tomboy. “I really like Carly”, James told me after they met. “She likes to play football, and basketball, and she doesn’t want to play with sissy girl stuff.” Hmm, I thought to myself.

Since then, James has been to Granny’s house several times. “Do you think Carly will be able to play?” he asks shyly, as we drive. “I hope so,” I tell him. I am surprised with how tenderly he talks about Carly, and how much he looks forward to spending time with her. And I am a little nervous too; I am definitely not ready for school age crushes and broken hearts, and I pray that this friendship will not cause James embarrassment, hurt or pain.

So about ten days ago, Tom and I took Rachel and James on a family drive, noodling our way through NE Alabama and back into Chattanooga. We had a great time just driving on the back roads and stopping wherever we saw something that interested us. Towards the end of the day, we stopped at a truck stop on the interstate to fill up with gas and get drinks, and as I was making my way to the drink fountain, I saw James browsing through the typical tourist trinkets that abound in truck stop stores – keychains, refrigerator magnets, shot glasses, knick-knacks, and such. As I was filling up my drink cup, James came up to me and tugged gently on my arm. “Can I get this?” he asks. "I want to give it to Carly," and he opens his hand to show me a keychain, with the name ‘Carly’. I am honestly stunned! He has never bought anything for a girl before, other than his sister, and of course that doesn’t count…. I find myself in a bit of a quandary because I am always telling Rachel and James not to waste money on stuff like this keychain, but I think it is a good thing that he wants to get her a present. I find myself rattled and confused because I am not sure how to handle this. I’m sure he asked me knowing that Tom would probably tease him if he found out James wanted to buy a present for a girl. So I stick with my rules, but feel instant regret as I tell him “No, you may not get that!”, but right them , Tom comes up, and sees what James is asking for, and he also tells James “NO!” and sends him out to the car.

I finish getting my drink, and the whole time, I am feeling so bad for James. I like that he thinks about people and wants to do nice things for them, and I want to encourage him to have a tender heart and want to do things for his friends. But admittedly, this whole boy-girl friendship thing is just throwing me for bit of a loop; James would never think about buying a keychain for his other friends, who all happen to be boys. What does this mean??? Aaaarrrgggghhh! So I head over to the keychain rack, I find the ‘Carly’ keychain, I pay for it along with my drink, and I slide the keychain in my jeans pocket. I’ll give it to James later and he can give it to Carly.

The drive home is uneventful, and when we get home, James heads straight up to his room. After a few minutes I go up the stairs, planning to talk to him and give him the keychain. As I am walking down the hall, I see Tom in the room with James, and Tom is fishing a keychain out of his pocket too. He bought the same keychain! So I give James the keychain I bought, and now James has two of them to give to Carly. We laugh and shake our heads. But I feel restored somehow, and I am squirmy with happiness inside that Tom bought one too, as it revealed a sentimental side of him that is hidden too often. As corny as it sounds, it feels good. Even if it is just a silly keychain.


His grace is sufficient. said...

I love that you & Tom both bought the keychains.

Lora said...

Your drive sounds wonderful Adrienne. The Salesman likes the backroads and I enjoy stopping when we see something that strikes our fancy. I would have enjoyed being in the sidecar on your trip.

I love the wonderful ending to your story.

Blessings to you.

Moose Mama said...

That is a precious story. Makes me smile with just a hint of tears.
Me :)