In Logan’s World

It was gorgeous outside today. The weather pendulum swung back toward summer again.

I was just winding down after dinner when I heard a little boy voice right outside the open living room window. I peeked down from the window sill and saw our next-door buddy, Logan contemplating our concrete bird bath. He likes to throw the landscaping rocks in there. Let’s them plop in the water and then giggles at the resulting splash. If his mom doesn’t stop him sooner, he’ll fill the thing right up before he runs off to find something else exciting to do.

“Logi!” I called out the window. He looked over one shoulder and then the other, but not up. He didn’t seem to realize I was talking to him through the window screen. And he’s so bashful! The sound of my voice so near sent him running back to his own front yard where he face-planted himself between his mom’s knees as she stood talking with Mark and Logan’s dad.

I wandered barefoot outside to join them. Logan cast me a shy smile and then craned his neck, looking up at his mom.

“Mommy! Wann get me?” he pleaded.

“Okay,” she said and he took off running around the locust tree. Logan’s mom, Susie chased him around a couple of times before the game ended and she came back to join the adults. Logan continued to hang on his mom’s legs, stealing shy glances at me now and then. Finally he worked up the courage to ask me to play.

“Tee! Wann get me?” I was surprised. Logan likes us, but he likes us to keep a respectable distance. He usually doesn’t invite me to get too close. Except for that time he threw a tennis ball at my head when I didn’t realize he was playing catch with me! Good thing my reflexes were quick that day!

“Sure, I’ll play,” I agreed. Logan giggled and began to circle the tree again, checking over his shoulder to be sure I was chasing. He hadn’t gone far when he dropped to the ground and rolled forward in the grass, his toddler legs and feet curling up in the air behind him with the momentum of his fall.

“Whoa!” I said. “You okay, buddy?” I asked as I scooped him up by the armpits and set him upright again. He giggled and said, “yeah” and was off and running again in a split second. He hadn’t gone maybe fifteen feet when his body dropped and rolled in the grass a second time. This looked suspiciously intentional and I scooped him up again, this time swinging him high up in the air before standing him up in the grass once more.

Over and over we chased and there was no doubt in my mind now that Logan was purposely hurling himself on the ground so that I would scoop him up and swing him around. Eventually I wound up swinging him higher and higher, and twirling him in circles until we were both dizzy and he began to tire out. He feigned an injury after one fall and I picked him up and held him in my arms, him facing me so he could point out his owie. And “anahr one” and “dis one” and so on before he wriggled out of my arms and back to the ground.

I tried to join the adults again when Logan was done being chased and done pointing out all of his owies, but soon he was beckoning me again.

“Tee! Wann draw chalk wif me?”

sidewalk_chalk

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He scampered into the open garage and soon returned with his bucket of sidewalk chalk. Next, I was being directed to make a rainbow, a fish, a jack-o-lantern, flowers and a tree. The driveway was quickly covered with colorful chalk drawings. He’d watch me create and then he’d add his own flair of colorful lines and circles to my etchings. The fish needed pink eyes, he said. The rainbow needed white lines. The tree needed to be circled. Every drawing became a combined effort between Logan and me.

The sun began to set. Logan stopped chalk-drawing abruptly and stood up straight like a little tin soldier. He pulled his shoulders back, puffed his chest out and beamed at the sky.

“Tee! Iss dark!

“It is getting dark,” I agreed. “Logi, do you like this jack-o-lantern?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he sang, agreeably, then ran to his front door where a big orange pumpkin sat on the front step.

“I got punkin!” he exclaimed, waving his arms toward the pumpkin with a dramatic flourish.

“It’s a good one,” I agreed.

Logan continued to dance and skip around me, running on his tippy-toes, clutching a wedge of chalk in his little fingers. He pointed out the solar lights along the sidewalk beginning to glow. “See dis one? See dis one, Tee?” He reminded me several more times, “Iss dark!

The mosquitoes were beginning to bite and the ground was getting cold beneath my bare feet. Susie told Logan it was time to go inside. As usual, he resisted her. He wanted to play more. He wanted to show me the dark and the solar lights again. I could still hear him chattering happily to us, even as Mark and called out good night to him, and headed back inside our own house.

Ethan

It was a beautiful day outside today. So I’m not sure why I spent it closed up in the house, cleaning the lower level and doing laundry. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow. I should have saved the chores for the rainy day.

Lucy is shedding buckets lately. I’d just finished vacuuming her fur from the furniture in the family room when I noticed movement outside the window which sits at ground level. Ethan was toddling around in the landscaping rocks in front of the house. Mark had put the water fountain out again last week. Ethan loves the water fountain. Almost every day last summer when I’d arrive home from work, Ethan and his mom would be out playing in their yard next door and Ethan would come and crouch in front of the fountain, picking up rocks, dropping them in and pulling them back out again. His fondness for the water fountain didn’t diminish over the winter. But he was disappointed today to see that the water isn’t running in it yet. (It’s supposed to snow on Monday. We’ll wait until the chance of freezing is over.)

I pulled up the blinds in the family room and watched Ethan pick rocks up in his tiny hands. He’d study them for a moment before lifting his hand up high and letting them drop with a thud back to the garden. It took him a moment to notice me looking at him from the other side of the window, but when he did, his eyebrows raised in delight and I could hear him squeal, “CAH!” (CAR!)

See, last week we were enjoying one of those after work warm day visits with Ethan and his parents. Ethan’s mom said he spent many days over the winter, looking out their front window. He’d see Bob across the street and he’d point. His mom would say, “That’s Bob.” Ethan learned to say Bob. He’d see Mark and he’d point. His mom would say, “That’s Mark.” Ethan learned to say “Muck.” He’d see me and point. His mom would say, “That’s Terri.” Ethan learned to say, “Tee!”

While we visited in the front yard, Ethan showed me all the words he’d learned to say since last fall. We played basketball. Ethan wanted Mark to put the ball through the net. Mark stood below and tossed the ball in several times. Ethan pointed and said, “Dunk!”

Ethan loves vehicles. He stood in our driveway and pointed first to Mark’s side of the garage. “Muck truck,” Ethan said.

“Yes, that’s Mark’s truck,” his mom agreed.

Then Ethan pointed to the blue vehicle. “Tee cah,” Ethan said.

“Yes, that’s Terri’s car,” his mom said.

Ethan wandered between the two vehicles and pulled on the door handle of my car. Of course, he was too small and didn’t have the strength to open a car door. I helped him open it and together, we stared inside. Ethan turned and looked up at me standing behind him and then looked back into the car.

“You wanna go in,” I asked?

He turned to look at me again and nodded. Ethan is all boy. He climbed all by himself until he was in my passenger seat. He stared at the steering wheel and then turned to me again with a silent question written all over his face.

“You wanna drive,” I asked?

A smile spread across Ethan’s face and he nodded again, then climbed across to the driver’s seat. So Ethan drove (he had to stand up on the seat to see over the wheel) and I was the passenger. I talked to him while he drove and he pointed at the speedometer and told me, “clock.” He pushed buttons on the radio and tried to beep the horn, but couldn’t get it to make noise. He turned to look over his shoulder and make sure Mommy and Daddy were still out in the driveway waiting for him. There they were, talking with Mark while Ethan drove and I rode. I asked, “Do you want to go see Mommy and Daddy now?”

“No,” Ethan said, still driving somewhere far away and exciting.

Eventually, Ethan’s mom said he had to go eat dinner and our road trip in the garage came to a stop.

When Ethan saw me today, he remembered we drove and wanted to do it again. But before I could even get outside, his attention was drawn elsewhere and he ran between his yard and ours while his mom and I talked.

She told me they got an offer on the house. It’s been on the market for a few months. They got an offer today and they accepted it. They have to be out in six weeks.

I’m sad. I’m going to miss my neighbors. They are great neighbors. And I am sure going to miss my little driving buddy.