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Being the duck in a row just fine by me

I am not a “ducks in the row” kind of person.

I routinely make decisions on impulse. It is not that I make decisions without thinking, I just tend to let my instinct and gut influence my choices.

I knew way before I got married that my wife likes to have everything organized before she makes decisions.

In fact, the amount of time it takes my wife to make a decision is directly proportional to the importance of the choice.

Selecting a new coffee maker may take weeks of research. This may include consulting Consumer Reports, gathering anecdotal information from friends and relatives and seeing the appliance first-hand in the store.

She may take months deciding on a new car. On the other hand, I may decide on a car based on a gut feeling and the fact that my family has always driven Mazdas. Neither method is correct. And even though it may have caused friction early in our relationship, I have learned to appreciate, even depend, on my wife’s decision-making style.

The past couple of nights, I have been playing the role of a single parent. My wife has been out of town. Between making dinner, bath time and getting ready for bed, I have noticed how my son is like my wife and me. I wouldn’t call it an even mix.

My mother laughs when I complain about his high-octane life, running at 90 miles an hour during his waking hours. It must be payback, she says, for all of the grief I caused her when I was running around in my hyperactive daze as a child.

Even still, I have been a little dismayed that my four-year old son is beginning to display my wife’s “ducks-in-the-row” tendencies, especially when it comes to his bedroom routine.

They may not be ducks, but Gibson has to have his stuffed teddy bear he calls “Baby,” his sheep and spider pillow with him every night before he goes to sleep.

Of course he is not buying a car or coffee maker, but it is his way of making sure everything is in order before feeling comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Every parent must look at their child and wonder, “Is he going to be like me?” Of course there are certain characteristics I hope my son doesn’t take from me. But if I had to choose, I would hope he had a little of his dad’s carefree attitude and less of his mother’s need to get ducks lined up. Of course, either way I would love him still.

In the wee hours of the morning, Gibson walked into the room Thursday and asked if he could climb into bed before getting up to get ready for school. As usual Baby, sheep and pillow were not far behind. After getting settled, Gibson fell asleep hugging the trio in his arms.

Trying not to rouse him from his sleep, I slipped out of bed to get an early start.

When I returned dressed for the day, Gibson looked up and pleaded me to come back in bed before he got up.

When I climbed back into bed, Gibson hugged me with his arms already fill with his bear and sheep.

“I’ve got Baby, sheep and my daddy,” he said with a smile.

I may not be a ducks-in-the-row kind of person, but I don’t mind being the duck.


Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.