Human beings suck. Especially parents. Having kids seems to bring out the worst in a lot of us. For example, when I had a kid I started making gross generalizations about huge swaths of people.
You know who doesn’t suck? Kids. I know, stop laughing; I hate them too. But hear me out.
Obviously, kids suck. They’re terrible. They’re loud and unruly and they don’t listen and they’re stupid and they’re exhausting and they smell. And that’s just MY kid. Don’t even get me started on other people’s.
But you know what else they are? Kind. Innocent. Without a judgmental bone in their bodies. And selfless.
You may remember my post from two weeks ago, in which we said goodbye to my son’s treasured lovey, doomed to live out the rest of his days in the clutches of an evil Target employee. A variety of wonderful parents – putting the lie to my opening paragraph – reached out and offered to send one of their child’s loveys to my son. After a few frantic days of fruitless round trips to Target, we eventually accepted an offer from one of my fellow Dad Bloggers – Dad on the Run – whose little girl decided she wanted to give her lion lovey away.
You can read Dad on the Run’s touching post, in which he details his daughter J-Bean’s difficult choice to sacrifice one of her stuffed friends, from the conversations he had with her about my son’s plight to the understandable second thoughts she had before ultimately making the gesture. Sometimes, doing the nice thing isn’t easy, but it’s the doing that matters, not the wincing during it. And J-Bean pulled through.
And so the-lovey-formerly-known-as-J-Bean’s was mailed to us in a special, easily-digestible package (a BelVita breakfast bar box), and while we waited for it to arrive, Mom and Buried and I debated how to handle our end of the deal. Initially we considered pretending it was the same lovey my son had lost, miraculously returned to him (we had previously explained that his lovey had gone to help another little boy who needed him because there’s no farm upstate for stuffed animals), but we knew that would never take. Kids are too savvy, and lovey’s scent far too… unique (euphemism!), to fall for that BS. Besides, just as Dad on the Run used the exchange as a learning experience with his kid, we wanted to do the same with Detective Munch. So we decided to spill the beans and tell him the truth.
He opened the box, spotted the almost identical lion lovey and immediately knew it wasn’t his lion. Confused, he asked, “What’s that?” We explained to him that there was a little girl halfway across the country who had heard that he had lost his feline friend and that she had generously sent her friend along to help him.
Aaaaaand… he started crying. He started screaming, “I want my lovey!” He basically started FREAKING OUT. We’d made a big mistake. Just as he’d begun to acclimate to life without lion lovey, we’d reminded of what he’d lost. We’d opened a wound and he was relapsing. But then… he calmed down. He grabbed the new lovey for a snuggle, and then he asked us for the name of the little girl who’d sent the package. BREAKTHROUGH!
There was a bit of a transition – Detective Munch had gotten used to relying on Blovey, his blue, backup, bear-headed lovey, but Blovey has never been first-string. He had his moment in the limelight, and he served us well, but he’s back on the bench, always a bridesmaid. Slowly but surely, the new lion lovey has reclaimed his role as king of the jungle.
And so order has been restored in my home, thanks to the generosity of a little girl and her father. My son is happy, we’re happy, J-Bean’s probably a little sad but in a good, somebody-owes-me-some-good-karma kind of way, and everybody learned a little something about the kindness of strangers. Eventually, these children will learn the truth about the world – that such kindness and generosity is often and unfortunately exclusive to the youngest among us – and eventually I’ll tell my son that his precious lovey’s existence is only possible due to the backbreaking labor of little boys and girls toiling away in sweatshops in China.
But not yet. NOT YET.