We drove the familiar 20 minutes to Archer, ID. Ledger yelled “Moo” as we passed a herd of yaks to our left, and seconds later we turned right onto the lane marked with the large wooden sign.
I parked the car in the middle of the first row and climbed out of the driver’s seat and quickly walked around the car to lift Ledger from his car seat. His eyes grew wide as he focused on sprinkler pipes, fields, and large pine trees. We walked to the other side of the car, and a smile spread across his narrow face as I’m sure his thoughts interpreted the cemetery as lots of grass with hundreds of large rocks, perfect for climbing on.
I took my time placing spring flowers and a small owl on the headstone, and cleaned the debris and bird poop off as best as I could. Ledger watched for a short moment, then took off running, jumping, falling, and continually yelling “Jump!” While I called back, “Get down, or leave that there! Come back…right now!”
Having a difficult time bending over while cleaning, my mind raced forward to the next few
years, realizing I’ll have three small boys to teach cemetery/headstone etiquette to. Hmm… visits will only become more difficult with two little babies.
By the end of our visit, my frustration with a hyperactive toddler transformed into a smile as I saw my son, who I thought wasn’t paying any attention to his mom, carefully place a small toy tractor at the foot of his sister’s headstone. My thoughts turned to Preslee, and I couldn’t help but think instead of being offended that her little brother viewed her expensive headstone as a jungle gym, was probably right there laughing along with him.
Eventually we packed up, and Ledger thrashed, screamed and arched his back as I strapped him into his car seat. He didn’t want to leave, and was certainly letting me know. As we drove away, a smile spread across my face as I listened to him cry out between sobs, “Go!” and point back to the cemetery. I realize there will come a day that he won’t be thrilled to visit the cemetery with me anymore, and I can’t help but love the fact that he loves our visits there, even if it’s just to run and jump on everything he can get his little hands on – I’ll take it.