Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Building Blocks

As a very small child Charlie adored making castles and roadways and bridges from the heavy wooden blocks in the two wicker baskets in his bedroom. His chubby toddler fingers carefully placed foundations for structures born from a budding cognitive creativity. Brightly colored wooden cars and trucks carried precious buddy cargo traversing intersections where miniature stop signs and S curve warnings marked the way.

Madison, his well traveled, much adored stuffed Dalmatian, always perched floppily in the leading car followed closely by Monkey Doodles draping long tan fur limbs over the rails while Ali Alligator hung on for dear life to the flatbed of the yellow tractor trailer riding the wooden rails. Grumpy ol' Fairfield's red woolen trousers brightly caboosed the procession of the most magical creatures in his beloved buddy family, while we knew that he was most dissatisfied not to be sporting the lovely white t-shirt and jean overall which bedecked GAPpy, the other bear in the entourage.

Next up: Duplos. Oversized primary hued plastic bricks which young dribbling mouths could not resist, but in no way could be ingested by oral-fixated kids. Tort lawyers drooled, too. Multimillion dollar settlements from sharp edges of playground swings and metal spikes attaching Barbie's perfectly coiffed head onto anatomically incorrect bodies (well, measurements anyway ... who the hell had a 17 inch waist? Oh yes. Today's emaciated size zero models and twenty-something fashionistas. But I am way off track. Way.) Product specialization not unlike large print editions of the New York Times for octogenarians or telephone keypads for the visually impaired. A major hit for the under three year old set.

Duplos morphed into Legos. More easily manipulated bricks, characters and vehicles. Gas stations, airports, shopping malls filled the netless ping-pong table in the basement playroom. Hours melted away as Charlie and his closest elementary school friends rode the rails making pit stops and capers along the routes of their vivid imaginations.

Evolution. It is no surprise that my darling son carefully constructs his journey. That he dares to imagine the possibilities. A middle-schooler on the edge of the prairie he rode horses on the plains and breathed in the pioneer spirits and down-to-earth values forged from the ancient wisdom of Native Americans, homesteaders, freed slaves, wildcatters and ranchers. At summer camp in the glorious crispness of the Colorado Rockies where a grueling climb up Longs Peak shaped his self-confidence and offered an unimaginable vista from the pinnacle of a snow-covered mountain in the July of his youth.

Charlie carefully places the bricks. And learns. His deep intellect and insatiable curiosity challenged by the best and the brightest in New England academia, his love of learning honed. His appetite for what lays beyond the horizon whetted. My sweet boy thinks outside the box, around it, through it, over it as only a 6'4" person could do! Sometimes it has fallen off the shelf. He picks it up and thoughtfully places the next block not always in direct alignment but generally connected. Then the next. That upon his foundational experiences he has dared to imagine his life as a citizen of the world surprises me none.

"The jury is still out." His proverbial hat thrown into rings worldwide: Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Moscow, Nairobi. Merchant banks. Asian trading companies. Foreign-based conglomerates. Soon he will know where this remarkable journey leads next. It will speak volumes, his decision. Open doors and opportunities unimaginable when a curved Brio track was placed onto a straight-away and his buddies applauded his structure. His old soul guiding the way. Building the foundation for his future into the unknown.

Cheers, darling son. You are the best of me and my greatest teacher ... and for that I add an extra olive!

1 comment:

  1. To our dear, dear nephew . . Your mama raised you right. You are one lucky pup to have inhereited the VERY BEST of my big sissor! Your uncle and I spent the better part of dinner last night singing you our highest prasies which we usually only reserve for outstanding behavior by the Doodle Brothers. At this posting they concur that you are Top Dog of their pack. We love you so much. And wherever you end up you'll always be our sweetest dearest alpha male. WOOF!