Turtle Number One

by Stefani on 6-August-2008

We spent a day at the lake yesterday with some old friends, the best of friends. While we were there, my oldest man, after hours of trying, caught himself a turtle. He was so excited. He kept saying, "I can't believe I caught one! Right out of the water! A TURTLE!"

Boy and His Catch

He begged and he pleaded to bring it home.  "He loves me Mama! He WANTS to come home with us!" This, as that poor creature writhed and sputtered and was passed around from hand to oh so excited hand. 


My guy wasn't real thrilled with me for insisting that the turtle be returned to his watery lair, but he understood. 

We just don't know how to care for a turtle, and we have no interesting fish or logs or algae treats or other turtles to make him feel at home. Our home is just not very lake-like, unfortunately. 

I was so proud of him for letting go. He was crazy about that turtle, so amazed by the miracle of having caught one all on his own, so it was HUGE to put it back in the water, of his own volition, and watch it swim away. 

Later, in the car, he said, "Well, I guess that was turtle number one of my life."

Such optimism.  He's prepared to count his many turtle blessings, even if thus far, "one" is as far as he gets. 

Aren't kids amazing like that? He truly believes that stretched out before him are wonders and blessings untold. Tomorrow, there will miracles at least as astonishing as the ones he received today… maybe even better. 

There will be more turtles. There is no question in his mind. 

He's so smart, that boy.

I'm going to take my cue from him today. I'm going to expect that life is life… there will be bills to pay and the economy to worry over, towels to fold and groceries to buy, arguments to settle, scrapes to soothe, tears to wipe, but there will be turtles too…!

Right out of the water. 

"Right Out of the Water"

Relyn August 6, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Many, many turtles. I love the way children can teach us all of the most important lessons, if only we’ll listen. I’m glad you listen. And share.

Sarah Jackson August 6, 2008 at 8:18 pm

what a wise boy he is. And he’s right. The turtles are there if you remember to look for them.

k August 6, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Wow, I loved this post. I will have to remember your son’s widsom more often. Lets keep our eyes and minds on the lake looking for turtles and not on the pile of laundry or chores. Thanks Stephanie!

Linn August 6, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Oh, don’t those sweet little comments just make you want to cry? It just makes you so thankful that you get to be the mama to your little (or big) ones. I hope he does have many more turtles in his future, and that they’re all as beautiful as the first.

katiemae August 6, 2008 at 10:32 pm

I love this post. Our kids are guides for us. With open eyes and wonder, they find the joy. And believe in possibility. I love that! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post and reminder to stay open.

I have really been enjoying your writing and photos. Very inspiring!

Amy August 7, 2008 at 4:54 am

I’ll take that lesson with me into my world today. Thank you for that – and thank your charming boy.

Holly C. August 7, 2008 at 4:55 am

I love the pruney fingers.

Julie @ Letter9 August 7, 2008 at 5:08 am

It’s funny… I started reading your blog because someone else (Erin, maybe, from House on Hill Road?) had posted a picture of your turtle quilt and I loved it so much I checked out your blog and then I loved THAT so much I subscribed and read everyday. So this post seems very apt to me. And a very good lesson, at that. : )

caroline August 7, 2008 at 5:10 am

What a gorgeous sentiment! I’ll be carrying that one around today!

I remember a similar scene with my boy and salamander tadpoles. Ours, however, was a “circle of life” lesson. (well, that and the fact that I didn’t know that salamanders go through the same stages as frogs!) But now, every spring, we go down to the same water hole to watch for the “hatch out.”

elissa August 7, 2008 at 5:33 am

makes me want to sing: count your turtles, name them one by one, count your many turtles, see what God has done (and if you don’t know that old hymn, sorry) my oldest had this same trouble with a worm yesterday. a WORM for pete’s sake. but he was so sweet, saying “mama, have you ever had to say goodbye to a really good friend when they have to leave and go home? that’s just how i feel about this worm.” i told him that he would find lots of worms in his life, and lo and behold as i was pulling weeds out of the patio…another worm! “count your worms, name them one by one, count your many worms, see what God has done!” hmmm… better with turtles.

The Mommy August 7, 2008 at 5:40 am

Your son is just beautiful. I love love love what he said in the car. It makes me want to just pick him up and snuggle him! What a sweetheart!

jen August 7, 2008 at 6:42 am

Your posts are always so well-worded and fitting, but I can’t get over that he caught a turtle right out of the water. I think I’m almost as impressed as he was! That is very cool. All covered in glorious algae and everything. As a kid, my dad found an egg while we were camping and we convinced him to let us bring it home. Of course, the parents figured it was a dud and wouldn’t hatch…hoped, really, since we had no idea if it was snake, turtle, alligator…
Well, it hatched a turtle (thankfully not a water mocassin)…and let me tell you…turtles as pets are overrated- with the perpetually poopy water and what not. He ended up being released a couple months later into a lovely nearby canal to frolick with the other turtles. It really is much more fun to catch, play, and release than to bring them home! I speak from experience.

katharine August 7, 2008 at 6:57 am

We’ve got a turtle that someone else’s parents didn’t say no to and let me echo Jen’s comments. The little red-eared slider that was so cute and tiny is now 10 inches front to back and swims in a very expensive (think halfway to a nice vacation) 60 gallon tank that takes up six feet along one wall of the playroom.

Why the turtle? because she needed a little more than she was getting at her old home (10 gallon tank) and because turtle released into the wild really don’t do so good.

Thankfully we love Sheila so we’ll be happy to care for her as she live out the rest of her forty years of life.

wesleyjeanne August 7, 2008 at 7:05 am

beautiful post. I love the way you write.

Regina August 7, 2008 at 7:05 am

Just lovely!

In my house it has been “bubbles and fireflies” – but turtles work just as well.


Julie Alvarez August 7, 2008 at 7:54 am

This is so sweet, Stefani! And I love the way you always try to look at your children as who they really are, and respect them, and learn from them, and be happy for the little things. You seem to be a very good mama.

Katie August 7, 2008 at 8:06 am

OH!I could have cried…the turtle and the pruney little fingers.


Teresa August 7, 2008 at 10:01 am

Kids are wonderful! It is amazing all of the things that they teach us.

I love the optimism. If you could bottle that up and spread it around, we would all be doing really well!

molly August 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm

this is perfect. i love it…

and i’m laughing at the wrinkly hands in the second photo. that boy must have been in the water a LOOOOONG time! 🙂 xo.

Amy August 7, 2008 at 6:38 pm

I left you a little something on my blog – you’ll have to go check it out!

Sarah August 7, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Great catch!
That turtle #1 looks pretty cool.

Mary Smith August 8, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Hi, Stephani,
Haven’t had time to visit for awhile. We are on a trip. The stripes on that turtle are so beautiful! Another one of God’s magnificent creations! Of course there will be more turtles and bigger ones too!

nicole August 11, 2008 at 7:32 pm

oh so cute! we had a turtle ! a red stripe water turtle , his name was , raphael! he bit a dog ‘s nose once … it’s really a funny story :00 well not the bite but how it happened …

Anne August 13, 2008 at 7:17 am

I really needed to read something like this today, thank you. I’m off too look for more turtles.

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