God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the
Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the
- Reinhold Niebuhr
The wind brought with it
an unusually chilling bite, tossing leaves about in a reckless fashion,
inciting a feeling of restless excitement in many a small child. The
sharp wind whistled violently through the trees, causing their boughs
to creak and moan as their branches swayed almost lazily due to their
Remus gazed merrily at the trees' swaying as
he beat a giddy tattoo on his leg. He was not a boy typically inclined
to bouts of hyperactivity. Of course he would run about with the energy
that any small boy does, but his nature tended to be more docile than
most boys his age. His mother's friends would always comment on what a
quiet and well-behaved lad he was, and his parents often told him how
lucky they were that they had a perfect child.
Remus was entitled to be excited. Today, his father was coming back
home from his two-weeklong trip in Ireland. With his father being an
undersecretary in the Department of International Cooperation, it
entailed an obscene amount of time travelling. Though Remus hated his
father's frequent absences, his returns were almost worth it.
and his mother would excitedly putter abound the house, cleaning and
making sure everything was perfect for John's arrival. His mother did
most of the cleaning, as he was only six, but she would always choose
what seemed to be very important tasks for him to do. Things like
fetching eggs from the hen house or stirring the contents of a bowl
were among the most coveted of tasks she gave him.
on the day of his father's arrival, his mother was making a veritable
feast with numerous pots and pans sizzling on the stove and a delicious
smell wafting out of the oven. Her sandy hair, which she never seemed
able to keep up, fell in its usual disarray of locks at her neck, while
her pale eyes, with their perpetually calm look, contrasted their manic
energy as they darted about from task to task.
Remus liked to
watch his mother's nervous behaviour on these days. Sitting at the
bottom stair, he watched as she flitted between her confections,
glancing at the clock every other second. He found it amusing when she
grabbed a ladle and began to critically examine her reflection in it.
his mother cried, dropping the ladle in shock. 'Oh! Remus...Don't sneak
up on me like that. You know how...skittish I am on these days.'
time is dad getting here? I'm really getting hungry...' Remus said with
a little more of a forlorn tone than was necessary. He pouted his lip
and raised his eyes in the most pitifully adorable look he could
manage, which was something to behold. As good as this face was at
melting the hearts of adults; his mother seemed to be immune.
pathetically hungry as you appear, you're just going to have to wait
until your father gets here,' she said wryly as he stared at her
pleadingly. After a few seconds of staring at each other, Remus gave in.
he smiled before scuttling up onto one of the kitchen table's chairs.
He restlessly swung his legs as he noted his mother once again checking
her reflection, only this time using the side of the simmering pot to
judiciously start slicking her sandy hairs in place.
'You look fine, Mum,' Remus said with a small roll of his eyes. She quickly stood up straight, a small blush tingeing her cheeks.
think so? Don't think your mum's hair resembles a trampled hedge?' she
asked as she tried to unobtrusively inspect her likeness in the window.
'I dunno. I like it,' he said as his feet began to rhythmically kick his chair's legs.
then it must be up to snuff,' she smiled warmly at him, leaning onto
the kitchen counter. 'Any ideas on what your father's bringing you from
At the mention of this, Remus' face suddenly lit up.
Whenever his father came back from one of his foreign destinations, he
always brought the most wonderful gifts. His eyes went to the ceiling
and his tongue poked out of his mouth as he tried to concentrate.
'Hmm. What do they have in Ireland? I don't want four-leaf clovers. Maybe a pot of gold.'
'Or perhaps a potato,' his mother smirked.
'Or maybe a leprechaun! I've always wanted to see one of those!' he stated enthusiastically.
'Or maybe a sheep.'
'Or maybe a kelpie!'
'Or maybe a hat.'
'Or maybe a...Maybe a dragon!'
Remus said, a look of pure bliss settling over his face. He and his
mother had made it a habit to play this guessing game. It usually ended
with him imagining some extraordinary animal being his pet.
'Well, I certainly can't beat that,' she smiled at the contented look on her daydreaming son's face.
'You were both wrong on all counts, I'm afraid,' said a low, cheerful voice.
'Dad!' Remus yelled, jolting from the chair and into his father's waiting arms.
my boy,' he smiled as he lifted his son in the air. 'Uh! I think you've
grown while I was away. What have you been feeding him, Linda?' John
asked before giving his wife a kiss.
'And here's my beautiful wife. You're a vision,' he stated, regarding her warmly.
Remus couldn't disagree that his mother was quite pretty, he made a
large sound of disapproval to let them know this sort of behaviour was
not to be tolerated.
'Right, none of that nonsense here!' John said with a click of his heels.
go burning our child's retinas with something as vulgar as affection!'
Linda laughed, putting a hand on Remus' head. 'You know, I'm afraid
you're right about him growing. I must've fed him too much in your
absence. He's practically your size, John!'
'Well, I am six,' Remus explained with a proud smile, standing very upright.
adult, indeed, but I hope you haven't grown so that you can't enjoy
your gift,' John grinned as Remus' eyes lit up with excitement.
is it? It's not clothes, is it?' Remus asked cautiously, almost
comically contorting his face into a grimace of barely hidden disgust.
course it's not. I'd never bring something so boring,' he replied with
an amused look, letting the moment of anticipation lengthen. Remus had
long ago found that his father was far more vulnerable to his wide-eyed
look than his mother and soon executed it with fervour.
'Well, I can't deny that face.'
'I could,' Linda said a bit proudly as Remus gave her an unconvincing look of irritation.
'What can I say? You have the obduracy of a bear,' John teased in return.
'Dad...' Remus said, knowing that if he didn't act soon, they'd be so caught up in each other he'd never find out what his gift was.
'Alright. There's no escaping you. Your gift is out under your tree.'
those words said, Remus bolted out the door as fast as his small legs
could carry him. Under the large tree in the yard was a tan Shetland
pony nibbling at a patch of grass, its long mane twirling in the wind.
'Is it really mine?' Remus asked, hardly daring to believe it true.
'Yes he is,' his father smiled from the doorway.
made to go ride it, but not before his mother stopped him long enough
to put on his jacket and scarf and had prompted him to say thank you to
'Does he have a name yet? All fiery steeds need a good strong name,' Linda said as Remus was hoisted onto the saddle.
'He's nameless as far as I know. I suppose you'll have to name him, Remus. Any ideas?'
Remus' face scrunched up in concentration before he answered.
is something really important. I need to think about it for a while.
Can you help me later tonight? We can look in the library!' Remus
declared as his parents watched him delightedly riding the small horse
around the tree, a broad grin stretching across his face.
'Oh! Dinner!' Linda cried before frantically running to the kitchen, her once in place hair falling into disarray.
you can ride the horse a bit later. It's time to eat,' his father said
lifting his son off the saddle. 'I'll show you how to de-saddle him
'Just a few more minutes?' Remus asked in vain as his stomach let out a large growl.
'I think your stomach would rather eat now. The horse will be here in the morning and you can ride it all you want, then.'
he sighed, petting the horses' nuzzle and smiling fondly at it. 'We'll
have so much fun together tomorrow! I have to go eat, but you'll
probably have a good name by tomorrow. It won't be anything bad, I
'Remus, come on in now,' he heard his mother calling from the kitchen.
'Coming! Goodnight, Horse,' he said, giving the horse a quick hug around the neck before running back into the house.