Sunday, May 27, 2012

Befriending the New Kid on the Block

We visited the Zionsville Pool for the first time today.  With temperatures soaring past 90, it was a perfect day to swim.

I'd heard rumors about the new neighbor boy.  Evidently, he's attracted quite a following among the neighbor kids.  It seems his growing lists of admirers span both gender and age.  I was intrigued that one child could spark such adoration from the masses.

We invited the new neighbor family to our ice cream party.  He arrived on our driveway with his mother and older sister.  Without hesitation, he jumped right into the festivities, spraying water guns and tossing water balloons.  At the end of the party, I caught the new neighbor boy hurling Connor into our plastic pool.  Connor emerged in full grin and raced after his newfound friend.  It was as if they were familiar frat brothers, not mere acquaintances. 

After the party, Connor begged me to ask the neighbor over for a play date.  Within days it was arranged, and yesterday he arrived on my doorstep with his mom.  As a native Texan, he uttered a lot of "yes ma'ams" in his polite Southern drawl.  I swooned over his sweet accent.  

Just before he stepped into the house, he offered me a piece of gum.  From his pocket, he pulled out a Juicy Fruit pack with one piece extended from the wrapping.  I tugged on the piece and suddenly felt a jolt of electricity surge through my fingertips.  Trick gum, he laughed.  My four little boys erupted into giggles and begged for their turns.  From there, he dug out a trick pencil and a funny laser.  The boys huddled around him in utter admiration and pure amusement.  

I watched my four boys interact with their newfound friend.  It's funny, those four can't even agree on a TV show, but every single son seemed to find this boy equally delightful.  I examined their friend with suspicion.  Could he perhaps be the Eddie Haskell sort that appeared harmless but when my back was turned was teaching my boys to make pipe bombs in the backyard?  But the more I watched, the more my fears washed away while my adoration grew.

I tried to pinpoint exactly what qualities made him so attractive to the masses.  If I could decipher that secret, could I mimic his charisma, bottle it up and pour it all over my own boys (maybe even myself)?  I never quite figured it out.  All I can say is that his list of admirers swelled and we (every single one of us) hold out hope his play date dance card never gets too full.

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