June 21, 2017
Too bad I neglected to take any photos. For a nine year old boy, it doesn’t get much better than running a tractor and loader. We picked up Matt’s kids after their half day of school. Mattie went to a friend’s for a party, while Nathan spent the afternoon with us, first accompanying Linda as she bought flowers to plant in my mother’s garden tomorrow, and then with me as I began laying the brick patio in front of our house. I hooked up the loader to the tractor so I could ferry bricks from the stack to the patio. Once hooked up, he took over at the wheel. He has run it before, but never operated the loader by himself until today. Once I showed him how to operate the controls, he took over like he’d been doing it for years. He hasn’t yet learned to gauge distances with the bucket, so I did guide him through some tight spots, but through it all, he was the man on the machine.
His mother came to get him after work, but he was in full work mode and didn’t want to quit. She decided to give him some more time, and pulled out, but pulled right back in the driveway. He had ju-jitsu practice and had to go. As we finished loading the last bucket of bricks, I asked him if he’d rather go to ju-jitsu (which he loves) or run the tractor. He didn’t hesitate. The tractor won, as I knew it would. Unfortunately for him, we believe that when you make a commitment, you stick with it even if something better comes along.
There’ll be another day of patio building. Nathan will drive the tractor again, and maybe his cousin Ian will get the opportunity, too. But tonight, I am grateful for the help, and for the opportunity to encourage a young boy in his journey towards manhood. Seeing the smile on his face as he manipulates the control is priceless.