My Son Makes Jewelry (part III)

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We went to a church party just before mother’s day. Volunteers
from the church provided childcare, and everyone brought a dish. It was a way
for those of us with young child to get a mothers day date in.
All the kids were in a different room at the church, and
after the meal, Kerry, one of the volunteers who helped watch the kids
approached me and said, “Tristan was very popular today.” She mentioned that he
had a large group of kids crowded around him, watching him make bracelets. And
as I looked around the building, it seemed like the majority of the kids had a
one of Tristan’s bracelets on their wrists.
I was helping clean up the church, when a mother from our
congregation approached me. She mentioned that Tristan had made her daughter
some earrings. And my response was, “I didn’t know he could make earrings.”
She mentioned that he could, and the he gave some to her
daughter, Samantha. She was a short, dimpled, brown haired, and brown eyed,
little girl. Tristan and Samantha went to school and church together.
Samantha’s mother mentioned that they had a rule in their
home. No long dangly earrings. Which I can understand. Samantha held up the earrings,
and indeed, they were long braided pink earrings with a dark pink bead on the
end.
I could see in Samantha’s eyes that she really wanted to
keep these earrings. Samantha’s mother and I chatted about the situation, and
it turns out the Samantha had just got her ears pierced a few days ago, and
they had put rules into place. 
Obviously, Tristan had created a difficult situation for
this little girl. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but be proud of the
little guy. Making Samantha some earrings was really charming.
In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I wished I could
make earrings for Mel. Something like that would surely result in a little
loving.
Or perhaps a lot of loving.
Samantha held the earrings tightly in her hand. And as I chatted
with her mother, she approached her father about the situation. Obviously she
was pleading to both parents.
I walked over to Samantha, crouched down, and said, “It
sounds like those earrings might not be the best for you.”
She held the tighter in her fist as I spoke.
“But I’ll tell you what. If you give them to me, I will take
them back to Tristan and have him make you one of his new monster tail bracelets.
Have you seen them yet?”
Samantha shook her head.
“They are really amazing. He’s really good at making them.
Blows me away ever time I see one. What do you think?”
Samantha smiled and handed be the earrings.
Later that night, I approached Tristan at the table. He was
in his Angry Birds pajamas bottoms and a Transformer T-shirt. I handed him the earrings,
and he looked at me with real disappointment, the kind of face I assume a man
might get when a woman hands back an engagement ring.
“Check it out, Tristan. Samantha can’t have long earrings
like these. Her parents have a rule in their house about them, and we need to
respect that.”
Tristan asked about the rule, and I did my best to explain
it to him. I’m not sure if he completely understood, but after a few questions,
he started to accept it.
“But check it out, Samantha was really bummed out about not being
able to keep the earing. I think she really liked them.”
Tristan smiled.
“I told Samantha that you would make her one of your monster
tail bracelets instead of the earrings, and she really liked that idea. I hope
you don’t mind making one for her.”
Tristan didn’t say no or yes. He didn’t blush or get angry.
He simply stood up, ran down the hall to his room, and came back to the kitchen
with his loom kit. He sat down at the table and started working on the monster
tail for Samantha.
“Those earrings are really cool,” I said.
“Yup.” Tristan, said. Then he gave me a sly smile and said,
“girls like earrings.”
And in that moment, I thought about how Tristan had made a culture
change at school, and in our neighbor hood. I thought about the fact that I’d
never even give Mel a pair of earrings, and we’d been married ten years. I
watched Tristan carefully pull out pink and purple rubber bands, colors he
thought Samantha would like, and I realized that Tristan understood things that
I didn’t at his age. He might even understand things that I don’t at age 31.
He is going to do just fine in high school. 

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video
game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play
dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of
fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial
and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in New York Times Motherlode, Huffington Post Parents, Huffington Post Weddings, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Lucinda Higley
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Showing 2 comments
  • Tracy Knox

    I loved reading this. I think your little boy is on the right track definitely. I mean what girl wouldn't want to get something that a man took the time to make just for her with her in mind. Great job raising him. I'm glad that he isn't scared to do something he really likes and wants to do just because most boys his age wouldn't be caught doing anything they consider girly for anything in the world.

    • Clint

      Wow! What an amazing comment! Thanks, Tracy! I always fear that I'm really doing a bad job raising my kids. Thank you for giving me a boost of confidence.