make someone happy.

Like everybody else in America, I was utterly enchanted by the Batkid story on Friday (by which I mean I practically needed fluids to replace all the tears I cried all day long and I need everybody to stop talking about it). What a beautiful gift they gave him. Not only that, what a beautiful gift they gave the rest of us by sharing it. Making a kid happy: the kind of infectious it’s good to spread around.

I thought about that yesterday when I took Atticus to Target to find a present for a princess birthday party he was attending. Because apparently wandering the toy aisles with a toddler on a crowded Saturday sounds like a good idea? I don’t know what I was thinking. On the way over, we talked about what Atticus might like to give his friend, and he said he’d like to give her a truck. This is what he wanted to give me for Mother’s Day and what he wanted to give Mike for his birthday and what he wants to give my mom for Christmas, but I feel like we have made some progress on the whole “thinking about other people” front because he said he’d like to give his friend a yellow truck or a princess truck. I can be down with that, I said.

Can I just tell you what a perfect jewel Atticus was in that toy department? That’s not sarcasm. He was so good. He wanted to play with some of the toys but he also made some suggestions for his friend and searched diligently for a car or truck that she might like. There were a few times he offered something and I said, “That’s something YOU like, do you think it’s something YOUR FRIEND would like? Remember, we’re not buying anything for YOU today,” and he would put it back or leave it in consideration, depending on the answer to that question. I think we were annoying other people in Target, but I was too busy being proud of him to be bothered with those people. Toddlers are not known for putting themselves in other people’s shoes, so it was kind of a miracle they were witnessing and I am sorry they couldn’t appreciate it.

There are not a lot (read: any) princess trucks at Target (why do I keep trying with Target and their gendered nonsense). In the end, we got the birthday girl a Wonder Woman figurine with an Invisible Jet which somehow managed to make Atticus, me, and the birthday girl happy, something I did not think was going to be possible. Another miracle! The presence of the Lord was definitely upon us in that Target.

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Again and one more time I learn from Atticus how to throw myself into my life more fully: to lavish people with love and to give of myself extravagantly without fear of rejection. Yesterday he and the birthday girl shared their happiness with me and with everyone else in the room. On the way back from the party, I talked to him about his gift and how happy it made her and how nice it feels to make other people happy. I left out the part about the joy I felt seeing the two of them because he was in a sugar and activity coma, but it felt like a successful parenting day overall, so let’s just say that the message got through. To me, at least.

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