How Big Your Brave Is

All summer long, Harrison had a job to do: pick the color of my toe nail polish whenever I decided to change it. Seeing as I was uber-pregnant for the first half of summer, there weren’t many times when his services were needed because, let’s face it, trying to reach my toes was too dang hard to do! After Lincoln arrived, however, Harrison got to have a lot more say as I changed them from blue to pink to red to blue again.

A few weeks ago, when I painted my toes blue, I warned Ben that if Harrison ever asked to have his nails painted, I would do it (it was a really fabulous bright blue, just the color I knew HD would LOVE, which is what made me anticipate his asking). My straight-laced, Nebraska farm boy, math teacher husband just shrugged and said, “Whatever. Half the boys at the high school wear nail polish” and that was that. None of this “that’s just for girls” business that is such nonsense or “That’s so gay” which is beyond nonsense and is just poor use of the English language, not to mention, flat out wrong (For the record, my husband would never say either of those because he is wiser and kinder than that, but you know, some people might have those reactions and to them I would say, “Whatever. It’s nail polish. The kid is just exploring the world and wants to be like his lovely Mama. Deal with it.”).

Much to my surprise, Harrison did not ask to have his nails painted blue when he saw mine the next day, but that was fine. I didn’t want it to be about me; it was about him, if he wanted it.

Flash forward to Sunday night when I decided I needed to get rid of the blue and took my polish off as Ben was getting the big kids ready for bed. Harrison saw what I was doing and wanted to pick out my color. “Black!” he said excitedly when I asked what I should do next, and since I didn’t have actual black, I picked the next best thing – sparkly charcoal gray left over from last year’s Halloween costume (Christina Aguilera from The Voice, in case you missed the totally awesome photos on Facebook). HD approved and, this time, asked if he could have his toes done too.

Since it was already bedtime, I didn’t want to take too long and told him I would do his big nail which I gave one quick coat. The only thing Ben rolled his eyes about, when he saw us, was my choice of timing. Right before bed? So he’s going to be all concerned about his toe and not sleeping? But it dried quickly enough and was not a problem. Of course, Raegan was watching all this and started hollering, “Me too! My toe. Me too!” but there was no time for that.

Except for at home, Harrison’s toes have been covered since then, so there’s been no one to notice or comment on this little beauty experiment. Tomorrow, at preschool, that will change as they have swimming lessons. Which leads me to his other big toe and those of his sister.

Tonight, at dinner, as we talked about the upcoming day, Harrison said that he was scared about swimming. He missed out last time because of his head injury which he actually considered to be a bonus of the stitches. He’s just never been very fond of the lessons, but he always does them (even though we tell him he can sit out if he really wants), which I think is very brave. So when he mentioned being scared, I asked him if he had anything on his toe, perhaps, that he could see tomorrow to remind him that Mama and Daddy love him and think he is the bravest and best boy in the world. He got a big grin on his face and I heard his shoe hit the floor. Then he brought his foot up to the seat of his chair and moved it so his toes just peeked out and I could see the polish. Then the smart little bugger, who has been asking the last two days if we could change his color (I told him it stays on for longer than a day or two!) said, “Maybe we could paint my other toe a different color so I could be really brave!”

And there you have it. Outsmarted by a four-year-old, who indeed got to pick out another color for his other big toe. And his sister got in on the action, too, having both of her big toe nails painted the same Brave Blue (which is what I just thought to call it but will totally be talking about at breakfast tomorrow). Again, Ben was on board, but there was some eye rolling when I asked him to help me blow on the toes to help them dry. I have a head cold, people. I don’t have enough oompf for doing full pedicures on my own!

Obviously I have no idea if this will help at tomorrow’s swimming lessons or not, but I figure it is worth a shot. And I’ll also be curious to hear if anyone says anything to Harrison about his toes that he wants to share with me. He doesn’t always give me many details about school, so I may never know, but of course I hope that this will not bring about any teasing for him. Because, quite frankly, I want him to know that it doesn’t matter what color his toe nails are. He is awesome and brave and we will always love him and be here to remind him of that (or paint his nails if it helps him remember it when he is away from us.)

P.S. If you’re wondering about the title of this post, check out this awesome song called “Brave” from Sara Bareilles:


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