Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Past, Present, Future

About 3 or 4 years ago a tragic story ran on the front page of our local newspaper. A young family of 3, on vacation out west, lost one of there members - while attempting to rescue another.

Their car was parked on the edge of the road, on the lip of a steep hill. Mom and dad got out to take pictures of the scenery, leaving baby inside.

The car started to tumble down the ravine. Dad did what he could to rescue his son. Baby survived. Dad did not.

Hubby and I had both previously worked retail with this man's mother-in-law. Hubby went to high school with his wife. She was also in Hubby's fencing class he took 6 or so years ago.

And the little boy? Is now Sweetie's good friend I____ at her pre-school.

I know this little boy's mom's name and what she looks like, but she doesn't know me. And Hubby and I still see and talk to her mom at the store sometimes when we stop in to browse. Still, even though our paths have crossed so many times in so many ways, no verbal acknowledgment of each other has ever been made.

And I feel bad about that.


The other night, Sweetie was observing that some kids have one mom and that's it. Some kids have one dad and that's it. And some kids have both a mom and dad - and that's what she has!

I asked her if she knew anyone who only had a mom or a dad. Then I remembered about I____. I said:

Oh! I know someone who only has a mom. It's.......

..... I____! I know that. He only has a mom.

Surprised Sweetie knew this (we've never talked about this sad story in front of her before), I asked if she knew what happened to his dad.

Yeah. He got dead. He died by a tree (????) and now he only has a mom.

Oh yeah? Who told you about that?

I____ did.


Then we had a small discussion about how I____'s dad will always be his dad. He just can't see him anymore - unless it's in a dream.

I'm not entirely sure what my point is here. I just think it's remarkable that this sweet little boy in Sweetie's pre-school class - a quiet, well-behaved boy whom Sweetie loves to pal around with - was the little baby rescued from that tumbling car some years back.


Yesterday evening was registration time for kindergarten in our town's public elementary school. I heard a father tell his little one - Look around. These kids will be in school with you in the fall. They will be your friends.

I felt like adding - whether you like it or not.

Maybe that shy little girl ahead of us in line will be Sweetie's life long best friend. Maybe that blond little boy who sat at the craft table after Sweetie did - both of them lefties - will be Sweetie's first crush. Maybe the cute girl with the blond curly hair - just like Sweetie's - will offer up Sweetie's first dose of merciless teasing and peer competition.

Or maybe we or another of these families will move from this town in the coming years, leaving other children heartbroken that their very good friends have moved away.

I saw Sweetie's future displayed in front of her last night in that classroom. I cannot wait to see what she makes of it. Such a smart, outgoing, creative little girl - she's sure to live her life to the fullest!

I___'s dad made sure his baby son had a future ahead of him, tragically ending his own life in the process.

I'm sure his dad is smiling down on I____ as he prepares for his own kindergarten experience.


I wonder how much I____ knows about the circumstances surrounding his dad's death. Whatever he knows - and from what I know of both this boy and his mom - I'm confident he's being raised with full knowledge of all his dad cherished in this world - first and foremost, I___ himself. Despite his physical absence, his dad is very present in his life.

Here's to the future. With kids like Sweetie and I____ at the helm, the world will surely become a brighter place.

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