My Son’s Future Leading Retreats Into the Desert

“Friend is a giraffe. Sister is a puppy dog. I am a turtle.”

My son and I walked to the local store this morning to buy a birthday present for a friend turning three. My son knew a week ago that he wanted his friend to have a bulldozer. It’s a fitting present I think and I was impressed once again with my boy’s ability to identify an appropriate gift. This morning on the way to the store, I again questioned my boy and he again said he wanted to get his friend a bulldozer.

The local store had a bulldozer so we picked it up, grabbed some wrapping paper and ribbon and then began walking to the register when I spotted some simple foam hats.

We already had two foam monkey hats that my mom had sent us several months ago. They’re simple very inexpensive visors made somewhere far away and the kids love them. They wear them while they push chairs around the house pretending to go on trips. They wear them as part of dress up and part of non dress up. So I asked my kid if he’d like to get some more.

He said he wanted to get one for his friend and when I asked which one, thinking the tiger was quite cool, or the jaguar, he responded “the giraffe”. “Are you sure? Check out this bear?” My boy was certain that his friend was a giraffe. I didn’t see it, but I also didn’t not see it. And I also did not spend an evening with the kid a couple weeks ago like my boy did. Perhaps my boy just “knows” something.

And then I asked my son if he and his sister would like hats and he promptly chose hats, which again were not the ones I was aiming for, but were quite right. The puppy dog for his sister was fitting somehow and the turtle he picked for himself was also fitting, but really – a turtle? Next to the turtle there were such more splashier snazzier looking hats, but he wanted the turtle.

Later when my husband and I were talking about our kids and sharing observations of things we’d seen them doing, this came up. I know that I don’t want to prescribe what path our kids take in life, but I do have some secret hopes. I hope they don’t become huge football fans or football players because I really just don’t “get” the sport. I also hope they don’t become dog mushers because it seems like a lot of work and a struggle to make ends meet and find the time to care for dogs and family. Other than that, I’m pretty open.

And as we spoke we had a vision of our son in a future role leading people on retreats into the desert to identify their spirit animal. What if this seemingly innocent ability to quickly pick hats for himself and his friends is really an uncanny ability to see something the rest of us miss – I love that idea even if it involves all sorts of things that make me uncomfortable. But then, maybe he just knows that sometimes anything is absolutely the right thing.

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