Jason came home from work early with some kind of flu bug, so I did my best to keep the boys away from Jason and out of the house so he could rest.
We went over to Mark and Karen's house (cousins). Allison and I swam in the pool, while Uncle Mark took Caleb and Emet with him to work in the garden, feed Buddy the goat, and collect eggs from the chickens. It was so sweet to look up from the pool and see the boys out there, filling the buckets with various veggies, watering the garden, and feeling very important going about their tasks helping Uncle Mark. When they returned down by the pool, Caleb's eyes were alight with pride as we asked him what he helped to do. As a reward, the boys each got to sit in a chair and eat a popcicle. Caleb later had the courage to get in the pool by himself and ride in a little inflatable boat. (Caleb has not been a fan of pools thus far.) Little Emet got in the boat as well.
When we got home, the boys and I went out to the garden to pick the "Zucumpkins", or rather those squash I have avoided picking for about a week that are now dominating the plants. Caleb suggested we bring the "hay wagon" (the boys' John Deere wagon) to haul the zucchini in. That was the best idea he's had in a long time! We nearly filled it! On the way outside, Jason asked Caleb to watch out for Mama because that was normally his job and he couldn't do it since he was sick. Caleb said, "Ok, Papa" and headed outside. He and Emet stood by my side as I twisted the monstrous zucchinis from the plants. Each stood ready - Caleb with the "hay wagon" and Emet with his little plastic wheel barrow. Both of them wanted squash for their carts, and each was so eager to help do our work.
As we were picking squash, it began getting dark. Caleb began hearing noises and asking me if I heard the monster, the giant, etc. Finally, he said, "Mama - it is getting dark and the bears will be coming out soon." I said, "No, Caleb. I have a couple of more chores to do before we go in. We don't have bears that come around here." He then told me....."But, Mama. It's my job to protect you. I think we need to go in now. It's getting dark." Sure enough, he had barely gotten that out of his mouth when Jason came outside and told us to come in, worrying about the cayotes.
Bedtime was a fairly quick routine tonight. Afterwards, I jumped in the shower, and when I came out, Emet was fast asleep in his crib, but Caleb was staring off to some far place. I went in and traced on his back for a while. When I got up to leave, I said - "I love you, Sweet Boy." He turned to me and said, "I love you too, Sweet Mama."