We met at the park today but you may not remember me, I’m just a mom so that’s understandable. I have to tell you, I don’t think I’ll ever forget you. How could I?
You hopped down the sidewalk into the park on your big silver squeaky pogo stick. Your bright red hair bounced with each hop, the look on your face was optimistic. You were confident. You were determined.
When the younger children gawked at you with admiration you excitedly paraded your talent. When they became curious you stopped your hopping and enthusiastically offered them a turn. They were too little but that didn’t matter. You held the pogo stick firmly and helped them step on. You encouraged them with each try. Then, when the questions came, you gladly answered. You patiently explained the mechanism of that pogo stick and they ate up every word you offered.
Then, when hopping was done, you joined the little ones on the playground. Your family was busy practicing baseball with your younger brother but that didn’t seem to interest you much. Instead, you asked questions and answered them. You didn’t flinch when little 5 year-old Rosalyn asked you what was in your mouth. “It’s a retainer,” you said proudly, “See.” You removed your magical mouthpiece and shared with her the wonderful way that it helps your teeth align. She was quite impressed.
When you got thirsty, you approached my husband and I to ask if we knew where a drinking fountain was. We weren’t sure so we pointed you in a general direction toward the school and wished you luck. Along the way to the fountain you saw some more adults and asked them if they knew for sure where it was. I’ve never seen a kid your age with such confidence to ask unknown adults for help. It didn’t faze you one bit.
Your mom says that you don’t fit in much with kids your age but that you get along great with kids who are older or younger. I think I know why. As another author puts it, you’re a firefly. You shine from within. You don’t fit in with kids your age because you are flying above them. I’m not saying you’re better than them, all I’m saying is that you’re up higher and you can see things they can’t. You can see that there’s joy in helping those who are smaller than you. You can see that adults are a valuable resource. You can see that you are awesome just for being you.
I hope you never stop seeing these things. I hope you continue to fly high and keep your eyes set on what matters. I was honored to meet you today. I was thankful that my son admired you. I wish that you were in our lives regularly so that he could learn more from you. You are a rarity. Please don’t lose your confidence. It’s ok that you don’t throw a baseball like your brother. Anyone can learn to throw better, but the spirit of compassion, wonder and inner-strength that you possess can’t be learned overnight. It’s beautiful.
Thanks for being you, Max. You’re probably the coolest kid I’ve ever met.
See you around,