I Found Humanity in My 1 Year Old

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It took all I had not to tear up and lose it, in public, today.

Today was a proud milestone in my ever growing mommy memory. I am officially full-term in my pregnancy. So it is no surprise that I love taking advantage of our family membership to the Children’s Museum. There is a special toddler section that is enclosed where it is safe to let the smaller children run and romp without too much hovering.  Once I made sure my son, Sebastian, could maneuver his way up and down all the play stations I made it a point to stay emotionally attentive, but not physically. My son thrives in his independence. He loves to run, climb and jump…and I love to encourage him to do it. He loves to climb to the highest tower on the castle, look out into the play area, and say, “Momma!” At which point I throw my arms into the air and exclaim loudly, “Hey baby!”

He has never been shy when it comes to playing with other children. When he was a bit younger it used to terrify me because he didn’t care that the children were older, faster and more aggressive. He would just jump in with them and let them knock him down. He would get up and run back into the fire. I love that about him. I’m a lot like that, too. But today he did something that stopped me cold. It made my heart swell, and I didn’t know if I would be able to hold it together for the sake of the other mother involved.

It was like any other play day at the Children’s Museum. I had encouraged him to jump or slide off of any surface he could scale. He made his way over to the giant leggos and began his latest construction project. The way he organized all the pieces before beginning let me know this one was going to be good. It had only been a minute or so until Ky-Ky approached us and politely took his seat with my son. He must have also seen the potential engineering project that was about to unfold and wanted to be a part of it.  There was one little obstacle. Ky-Ky had two complete casts on both of his arms. They started above the elbows and completely covered his hands. Sebastian tried to hand him a few giant leggos and quickly noticed that his friend couldn’t grasp them.  What happened next is something I will never forget.

My son pushed forward, on the floor, one giant leggo…..and his new friend bent over and used the balls on the tips of his casts to pick the leggo up. Sebastian leaned into him and clapped gently while giving a very encouraging, “Yay!” Ky-Ky delighted in excitement. Again, Sebastian pushed another leggo in his direction….and again, the child struggled to pick it up and place it on top of another. My son sat there and gently encouraged and praised this child for doing a great job. My one year old child was showing humanity and compassion for another human being. In some small sense of the world around him, he recognized and understood the struggle in someone else and chose to embrace the opportunity to show love, encouragement, and support. My 100 mph little boy had the patience to sit, teach, and reinforce a skill that brought sheer joy to them both.

I wish I could tell you the expression on the other mother’s face. But I couldn’t take my eyes off them long enough to check. After my son made sure the other boy could pick them up on his own, he jumped up and ran off to the next adventure. It wasn’t until then that I noticed his mother had been sitting as closely behind her son as I was mine. I made a small remark about her son being precious and she just smiled at me.  It didn’t take long to see her son following mine around. Her little boy approached me, as I was sitting on a bench, and leaned in to give me the biggest hug. I embraced him fully and pulled him up onto my knee to talk. My little boy ran over and leaned in to give him a hug, too, and then quickly ran off to play. At this point I was obviously in conversation with the boy’s mother. I learned he was only 11 months old. I complimented on how social he was and how that would come in handy the older he got.  She seemed comforted by it.

I know what you may be thinking….

Why did he have the casts on? Or, what was wrong with him? The truth is, I never asked her. It wasn’t important to me. I do have a question for you, though. Did it ever occur to you, while reading this, that the other child may be of a different race than my child? No? Good….it shouldn’t have.  Turns out, he was.  But our children had embraced one another without discrimination to skin tone or handicap…..and that’s exactly the way we both wanted it. We were both proud mommas today. We all four spent the next 45 minutes playing together on the see-saw, the bouncy bears, and using the touch screen station to match different types of bugs. Our boys delighted in learning along side one another. Just as I was there to give a hug and high five to her son, so was she to mine.  And every few glorious moments of giggling, as the other mothers and children stared at Ky-Ky’s condition, his mother and I would share a proud smile. I don’t know how other people treat them. I don’t know if Ky-Ky is avoided by other children because he looks differently. But I do know that today, he wasn’t. Today, he was treated normally, just as he should be. Today, he was included. Today, he was encouraged. And today, his momma saw a glimpse of humanity toward her son, not by another grown-up….but by another child.

God, please let us raise our generations to raise generations to love and accept one another. Put in us the passion to encourage and lift up those around us that may be struggling. Lord, put in us the compassion toward one another that has no boundaries to the flesh. Live in our hearts and let us raise generations to be your hands and feet, Lord. Send us into the day to be your light. Please, God, use us to show you to our children. And thank you, Lord, for using our children to show you to us, too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

With love,

Your Mediocre Mom

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