A father in Texas, while playing with his AR-15 last weekend, shot his three year old to death.
A video gone viral of a homeless man in Los Angeles, trying to give away money, shined a spotlight on man’s basest vanity, pride and willingness to insult and humiliate strangers.
I was feeling a little icky as the day began, to say the least.
Slightly irritated, mentally piecing together a blog that would call out ugliness, I took a few minutes to clean out some texts. Thank God.
I text myself sometimes (actually pretty often) when I want to freeze frame a statement or an incident. I have a horrid memory; even when I do remember, it typically isn’t accurate (curse of being a double Gemini). As a way to combat this problem, I’ve taken to using technology to capture important moments.
I recommend doing this folks. Freeze frame the best moments, the best random comments, the best feelings. Capture them and use them as sustenance when you need a lift.
Because when you do, this is the type of story you might come across.
I was heading to Target with Brody, our ten year old. He had earned a reward, a $10 item, but what it really meant was that I got the chance to spend some one-on-one time with him. This doesn’t happen often; between schedules and my own flawed distractions, I miss out on far too many opportunities to remain “in the moment” with my youngest.
I started a discussion in the car with him about the Tooth Fairy. He had lost a tooth recently and I was curious about whether or not he had found any money under his pillow (gads, I actually remembered this time). Inevitably, this led to the much feared “do you believe in the Tooth Fairy” question being asked by me.
Seriously. There isn’t a handbook telling you WHEN to ask this question. Somehow, I just felt that it was right. One thing I do trust is a mother’s instinct. Mine is typically on target (ask me next year when our oldest is finishing up her first year of high school; you’ll possibly get a different answer regarding the infallibility of my so-called “instincts”).
He pondered the question, quite intently, and finally said he really wasn’t too sure. In fact, he didn’t necessarily believe in the Tooth Fairy…but he DOES still think maybe Santa Claus exists. And this is where things got real.
Brody then told me that he equates Santa Claus with the “Soul of Hope” in Pandora’s box.
After asking him to repeat himself, because in all honesty I had NO idea what he was talking about, I almost wept upon hearing his response.
He told me that the God Zeus was mad at another God for offering humans the gift of fire. As punishment, he created a box for Pandora. In this box, he placed things like sadness, stress and depression. Because this was before Zeus developed an exceptionally bad temper, he also added something positive to the box. He added hope.
Hence, the “Soul of Hope”.
Now, whether or not that is the academic version of the story is irrelevant. This is the version shared with me by my ten year old.
As for Santa…Brody said he believes Santa Claus is real because he represents hope.
I told him that I thought it was pretty cool that he thinks of Santa as hope. Brody simply shrugged his shoulders and said “it’s because Santa is good and just gives without wanting anything in return.”
He continued, saying “we can pay Santa back by going out into the world and being kind to each other.”
Now, I’m in the moment. I’m thinking about how I can keep this conversation going because, quite frankly, it’s pretty darn awesome. We talk about spirituality on a regular basis and I think he’s transferring; I’m loving that he understands the same messages regarding how to treat our fellow brothers and sisters, but I’ve still got those downer Facebook posts in the back of my mind. So I say to him “that’s true, although sadly many people don’t do this so all we can do is be responsible for ourselves.”
Without missing a beat, as he walked down the aisle in Target, Brody said with the wisdom of the elderly, “yep, be the man in the mirror”.
It was then that I pulled out my phone and started texting myself. I didn’t want to forget this moment.
Technology is a yin and a yang but, right then, it allowed me to record for myself a message from my ten year old; a message I’m going to preserve. Thanks Brody. You are pretty awesome buddy.
Be the man in the mirror.
Postlude: While waiting for Brody to pack up his sparring gear at Tae Kwon Do tonight, the father of another boy whom I’ve never spoken to before approached me. He said “you are Brody’s mother, right?” After I replied in the affirmative, he said “I just wanted to say that he is a really good kid.”
Man in the mirror. Living it.