“The art of
mothering is to teach the art of living to children.” —Elain Heffner
It was a softly golden afternoon in Gondor, and it was the time of day
when mothers throughout the land try to get young ones down for a
restful nap. Though exceptional in many other ways, the Steward’s House
was no different in this.
“Where is my big boy?” asked Finduilas, putting one hand on her
forehead and doing a fine job of acting puzzled. “I was certain that he
was in here, but it looks like he is gone.” She sighed most sadly.
Off to her left, a pile of blankets moved, and a little shadow
flitted behind the big chair. Finduilas buried a grin and deliberately
looked the other way. “Oh dear. I believe my little Bori is lost.”
“Mummy!” With a mighty leap, the little shadow flew into the air
and, despite all expectations, landed safely in his mother’s arms.
Finduilas laughed, even as she stumbled back a little. “Bori, dear,
someday we will have to forego this tradition, for you are quite big
now for me to catch.”
“I am the biggest boy in Gondor!” declared Boromir proudly, flexing his
little biceps and puffing out his chest.
“Of course,” said Finduilas, settling down into the big chair. “But you
are my boy first and foremost, are you not?”
“Yes, Mummy,” said Boromir, wriggling deeper into her lap.
“And my boy needs to take his nap now, is that not right?”
Boromir did not answer, but hid his face behind Finduilas’ encircling
“Big boys need no naps,” came the slightly muffled answer.
“Yes, they do, or they will get no bigger,” said Finduilas, lifting
her arm and leaning down to brush noses with Boromir, who was still
trying to hide.
“I am big enough,” answered Boromir firmly. “I need no nap.”
“I think not,” said Finduilas.
“I think so,” said Boromir,
daring a bit of cheek.
“Oh, you do?” Finduilas’ tone was gently dangerous.
“Yes,” said Boromir.
“Do you know what I say to that?” asked Finduilas, her blue eyes
Boromir shook his head solemnly, before being enveloped suddenly in
a quick embrace, and finding himself peppered with gushy mother kisses.
He squealed and struggled, writhing in her gasp, but giggling in spite
of himself. “Mama! No kisses!” He got a hand free, and pushed her face
Finduilas pouted a little. “No kisses?”
“No kisses,” said Boromir. “I am too big.”
“You would not say that if you knew what a kiss was,” said
Finduilas mysteriously. “But I suppose you are too little to know
that.” She stood up, putting Boromir down. “Come, nap time!”
Boromir clung to her skirt, saying loudly: “I am big enough for
everything! Tell me, Mama! What is a kiss?”
With a grin, she scooped him up again, looking him straight in the
face. There was a pause.
“Tell me!” demanded Boromir.
A motherly eyebrow rose.
“Tell me—please?” And two
little hands were put on her cheeks as two sea-blue eyes looked
hopefully into her own.
“Only if you are in bed,” she whispered, and with a swift move, Boromir
found himself flying through the air again.
With a squeal of delight, he landed on the mattress with a bit of a
bounce, and then rolled over to get himself under the covers to hear
Finduilas sat beside him, and leaned in close. “A kiss,” she said, “is
Boromir’s looked disappointed. “A blessing? Blessings are for girlies.”
Finduilas shook her head. “For girls? Do you not want to be safe?”
Boromir thought very hard for a minute. “I am the biggest boy in
Gondor,” he declared. “I will kill anything not safe.”
“But what if you meet a dragon?” queried Finduilas, half-curiously,
“I will kill him,” said Boromir, growling viciously and making a
large slashing motion towards, his mother assumed, the hypothetical
dragon’s throat. Then he looked up. “Can kisses keep me safe from
“Oh, yes,” said Finduilas gravely. “They will keep you safe from
wolves, and bears, and wild cats, and trolls.”
“And dragons,” added Boromir.
“Of course. And dragons, too.”
“And chins?” asked Boromir, his head tipped to one side.
“Of cou—chins, Boromir?”
Finduilas started, and Boromir dissolved into giggles.
She gathered him close and planted a kiss on his forehead, and this
time he did not struggle. “Yes, even from chins, if they ever threaten
“Then can I have lots of kisses?”
Another rise of the eyebrow.
Boromir sighed, and said again: “May I?”
There was not a mother alive who could say no to that. So Finduilas
gave him a kiss on his hair, a kiss on his forehead, a kiss on his left
eye, a kiss on his right eye, a kiss on his nose, a kiss on his left
cheek, a kiss on his right cheek, a kiss on his left ear, a kiss on his
right ear, a kiss on his lips, and a kiss on his dangerous chin.
“Now I am invincible,” whispered Boromir, satisfied, and he yawned
“Of course you are,” whispered Finduilas with a smile. She fluffed
his pillow, pulled the covers around him, and tucked them in tightly.
“Sleep safely, my little boy.”
And Boromir was too sleepy to protest that he was, of course, the biggest boy in Gondor.