Best Toys For Four Year Old Boys
- An object for a child to play with, typically a model or miniature replica of something
- A person treated by another as a source of pleasure or amusement rather than with due seriousness
- (toy) dally: behave carelessly or indifferently; "Play about with a young girl's affection"
- (toy) plaything: an artifact designed to be played with
- An object, esp. a gadget or machine, regarded as providing amusement for an adult
- (boy) male child: a youthful male person; "the baby was a boy"; "she made the boy brush his teeth every night"; "most soldiers are only boys in uniform"
- (boy) son: a male human offspring; "their son became a famous judge"; "his boy is taller than he is"
- A male child or young man
- A son
- A male child or young man who does a specified job
Alea and Edwin in Uganda orphanage
When I was a Junior in high school I saw an episode of Oprah about some of the horrible conditions of people that lived in Africa. I don’t remember much about it now, but it had a huge impact on my life. Ever since I have dreamed of going to Africa. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go, but I knew that it was something I had to do. For three or four years I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to go, and even planned a couple of trips with a friend that never ended up working out. This last summer, after my second year at UC Santa Barbara, I was finally able to live out my dream, and it obliterated any expectations I had. It was all I had dreamed of and infinitely more. It was arguably the best experience of my life.
I ended up going to Uganda with two of my closest friends from Santa Barbara. We spent four days in London on our way there and about a week in Kenya for a safari on the way home. The purpose of our trip, however, and where we were the majority of the time, was in Jinja, Uganda at Amani Baby Cottage, a home for babies four years old and younger. I was placed in the room with the one-year-olds.
Right away, the first day I was there, a little baby named Edwin attached himself to me. He had only been at the orphanage for a couple of weeks, as he had previously been living with his mother in prison. In the prison he was mistreated by the other inmates who withheld food and water from him. His mother saw that she couldn’t care for him there, so he was sent to Amani. I fell in love with his sad little face extremely quickly. He cried when he wasn’t being held and his face looked as though it was incapable of smiling. Over the next couple of weeks I got even more attached to this sweet little boy. I watched him as he began to adjust to being at the orphanage, and the more time that past and the more love he received the more his sad, uneasy little shell began to crack. By the end of my time there he was laughing and smiling all the time, crawling around, playing with toys, making baby sounds, and basically just being a normal one-year-old. It was such a beautiful thing to get to see happen.
The love and attention that he was receiving from the women that work at Amani and from me and the other volunteers, as well as the nourishment of a healthy diet, were completely the culmination of God’s love, and God’s love just transformed him.
I wish I could describe all the ways in which I saw God throughout this trip. He revealed Himself in so many ways to me while I was there. I thought that going to Africa would satisfy me since I had wanted to go for so long and finally was able to, but it just gave me a taste and I am praying that I get the opportunity to return for a longer period of time. For all of the poverty and alcoholism and corruption and disease that afflict the people, there is a hope and a joy that is completely unique to Africa. Their love for God is so pure and real. It was such a blessing to step away from superficial Santa Barbara and see God in such new and inspiring ways. There is a quote I read that captures this perfectly. “We know that Americans pity Africans… But sometimes I think Africans pity Americans... Americans seem to expect that everything will be provided for them. For us… this ear of corn is a gift from God. This evening’s rain is a shower of mercy upon us. This healthy breath is life-giving. And maybe tomorrow we will not have such things, but our hearts are so full from God’s provision” (Anonymous). Nothing could be more true.
For week #2 of A Sense of Place (and 365).
This is Lucy.
Lucy was given to my son at his Christening, making her 16 1/2 years old.
For about six months, Lucy just sat on a shelf in DJ’s room. Then one day my daughter gave Lucy to her brother in an attempt to shut him up comfort him. For the next four years, he barely let go of her.
DJ held onto Lucy as if his lifeforce existed inside her. Where DJ went, Lucy went. And lord help us if she got lost. The panic that would rise through me when I realized Lucy was MIA – you would think I lost a child. When she fell out of the stroller at the mall while DJ was sleeping I went into a bigger panic than I did when my daughter was lost at the Bronx Zoo. To be fair, I knew she was running back to the llamas. Lucy, she could have been in the grubby hands of any little kid who would take her home and just dump her in a toy box, where she would be denied the love and devotion she was so used to. It wasn't only that DJ would be devastated to lose Lucy; we had all given her a personality, a life. Shewas part of our family. Luckily, we found her that day.
The one time we thought we lost Lucy for real, I went out and bought another. But DJ knew. He took one look at the doll and said “NOT MY LUCY!” Thankfully, we found the real, tattered Lucy in the trunk of the car.
Lucy at one time was a soft and pink and perfect. She's now a dingy gray, dirtied and ragged from being dragged around playgrounds, baseball fields and backyards. She has been to hell and back. She’s been stitched and sewed and washed and dried. She’s been carried to Disney World and nursery school. She’s been dragged through mud and dropped in spaghetti and tossed around by mean teenage cousins. She’s been attacked by dogs and cats, and had emergency heart surgery when a Jack Russell terrier put a hole in her chest.
She was a part of our us. She sat at our dinner table and attended all our holiday festivities. She’s in our family pictures and we all still speak of her as if she wasn’t a doll, but a person. She was my son’s best friend for a while, keeping him company in the dark, giving him comfort when he was away from home, snuggling with him at night, watching Sesame Street with him during the day.
One day he came to me and said “Lucy doesn’t want to play with me anymore.” and handed the doll to me. He wasn’t sad, he was smiling. He was almost four and ready to move on with his life. We gave Lucy a bath and, for the last time, he pulled up a chair and sat in front of the dryer while Lucy tumbled around. When she was all fluffy and dry, we put on a shelf in his ’s room. She sat there until we moved to this house.
She sits on a shelf in my closet now, where I see her every day. She’s a gentle reminder of some very sweet moments during some very rough years. And she’s also a reminder that somewhere inside my teenage son, there still lies that sweet little boy who loved his Lucy. Every once in a while he checks to make sure I still have her. Of course I do. She's family.
And so this becomes my "A Sense of Place" picture for the week. There are few material possessions I have that are so much a part of me I would run through fire to save them. Lucy is one.
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