As I stood and watched my son playing at the indoor play area at the mall I started to well up. He was having a good time running and jumping amongst other kids who were strangers. But, what got me was the fact that he was not interacting with the other kids. Every time he made an effort to join in, the other kids shunned him. Each time he approached the steps to the slide he would let the older kids edge their way past him and he would miss his turn. I watched as he chased some of the kids closer to his age, only to have them run away, not in the effort to encourage the chase, but more so to get away from him until he gave up. I know he is only two and half and he is at an awkward stage where the lack of the ability to communicate properly gets in his way, but it would be nice to see him make friends. Or more accurately it would be nice to see other children want to befriend him. He was not assertive, which I guess is okay.
Every so often he would look to where I was standing to make sure I could see how high he was jumping. To make sure I caught the summersault he just performed. He would see me smile and he would smile back and run off to do another stunt to impress me. He jumped from the top step of the hollow tree and he took a decent spill. He lay motionless for a few seconds; stunned but not hurt, until he heard me say from across the way, “Brush it off.” He smiled as he sprung up brushing off his hands as if he meant to take the spill and ran off to do it again. It was then that the lump appeared in my throat.
I realized, at this point in his life I am my son’s best friend. He didn’t care that the other kids were not playing with him. He only cared that I was playing with him (even though it was from the sidelines, because if I were to run and jump with him the mall security guards would cart me off). I was overcome with the emotion of the fact that I mean everything to this kid.
I walked over to him and suggested we go throw coins into the fountain. We took the 26 pennies I had in my pocket and made a wish with each one. We wished for good health for his four grandparents. We made wishes for his brother and his mom that they will always be happy. We wished that the dog and two cats would never be hungry. We wished for healing of friends, Horace and Susie who are sick. We wished for nice visits with family and friends. I took the last three coins and made three wishes. A wish that my son would eventually know that he means everything to me. A wish that he will have lots of friends. And the third wish was for chocolate covered pretzels.
We then walked to the candy stand and I bought some chocolate covered pretzels just so my son and maybe myself would know that some wishes come true.