A week ago Sunday, at church, I received a visual aid.
Green army men! Score!
Although the sermon related to the story of Ruth and focused on tiny victories of faith that lead to the “big win,” my mind immediately went to my brother and our childhood. Since there were no other siblings, we occupied our juvenile time together carving holes in snowbanks, climbing trees, drowning spiders, building forts out of furniture and cardboard boxes, etc. As my brother would have refused tea time with Barbie and anything sparkly, I turned into the tomboy and followed along in various adventures.
Note the totally cool
dork tomboy haircut that I will never ever sport again.
And, so, it would only be reasonable and practical that my brother would give me an extra special gift one year for my birthday: An entire bag of green army men!
A complete army!
Actually, in my child’s mind, one that was still physically female and enjoyed playing with Barbie and her Corvette, I remember thinking, “What the heck is this?” Or something similar. At the time, I thought it self-serving to buy a bag of green plastic men intent on war rather than something I might find useful – like a new dress for Barbie. Looking back now, I chuckle and realize that I did nothing to send a message that I was strictly girlie girl (I wasn’t) or opposed to climbing a tree, hanging over the lake, with bare feet. In fact, I was more the tomboy in childhood and that propensity served me well into adulthood as I became the biker chick and someone who isn’t afraid to handle worms or kill spiders. (On the other hand, the girlie girl in me runs from centipedes and June bugs.) Even though I’m a recent newbie at camping, I find stoking a fire and walking to the outhouse more enjoyable than shopping at the mall or wearing pearls. Working up a sweat at the gym or on the bicycle is far more appealing than fussing over a perfectly ironed dress. Digging in the dirt with bare hands creates tomboy happiness that no girlie manicure is able to match.
Stomping around Green Bay this past Saturday with my brother (rather than comforting my head cold), drinking a beer and laughing at his custom jersey (a photo for another post), I realized I still follow him around, trying to climb trees and throw grenades for the sake of family and adventure.
In the end, I wouldn’t trade the birthday package of green army men for anything. I may not have appreciated the special present at the time, but today it signifies part of who I am. I may paint my toenails and wear dresses in the summer, but I am not opposed to stomping through a mud puddle and pointing a plastic rifle at life now and again.
It’s how I win the little victories and keep the tomboy close.
Dear readers, do you have a special (good or bad) birthday memory? Did you have a package of green army men?