I took my son to hockey practice the other day. Well, not really hockey practice. It's a class that teaches kids how to skate. He switched recently from figure skates to hockey skates, so, he has to learn how to deal with the difference between the two. I made my way up onto the bleachers along with the other parents all who were watching their kids on the ice. Funny how we are so preoccupied with kids, yet we're never really accurate as to what makes them happy when we are buying toys for them. Is it me, or does it seem to you too that the more expensive and elaborate the toy, the more adults think kids will like it, and the less kids actually like it.
The little sister (not yet two years old) of one of the kids on the ice was amongst us parents. It was about 15 minutes into the skating lesson early in the morning, and already, as a group, we parents were running out of distractions for her- that is, until she became enthralled by a rather benign plastic band-aid dispenser that one of the moms found in a pocketbook scavenger hunt frenzy. There were no band-aids inside. And it had the words in bold printed on it "REPAIR THE WORLD".
I don't think the little girl's innocent, sweet baby blue eyes blinked for a good few
minutes. She stared at the contraption with this deep mantra printed upon it, certainly not able to read the words, but not for lack of trying. She opened the container, then closed it. Then opened and closed it again. First slowly, then fast, then slower again, all the time looking inside of it. Those baby blues then looked right into mine as if to ask "How am I supposed to repair the world without any band-aids?" The baby girl spent the rest of the time just opening and closing the container over and over.
When the lesson was over, I helped my son off the ice. We walked towards the bleachers together, while the next group of kids made their way towards the ice. One of the kids, about my son's age, was crying, pleading with his dad not to make him go on the ice:
"Noooooo!!! I don't wanna gooooo!!!"
"But you said you wanted to be a hockey player when you grow up," his father said.
My son became visibly sympathetic. "You don't have to be a hockey player" my son told the crying boy. "You won't get hurt. And my dad is a paramedic so if you fall, he can make you better."
As my son and I continued towards the bleachers, the crying boy began to calm himself, and made his way onto the ice, albeit somewhat reluctantly still. The wonderment from
the exchange between the two boys hadn't yet left me. And as I unlaced my son's skates, he kept his watchful eyes on that boy. "I just want to make sure he is ok", my four year old son s
aid to me, as he struggled to peer towards the rink in the midst of my removing his gear. It looked like that boy was fine. His father appeared either relieved or exhausted, or both. That father clutched his coffee and filled the seat of a vacating parent. My son and I joined the group of families leaving the rink, holding hands. The little girl with the band aid holder was right in front of us. She stopped, turned towards my son, gave him the plastic ba
nd aid holder, and proceeded on her way right after flashing a grin.
"Daddy, what's this?" asked my son, as he held the plastic piece up towards me. "It holds band-aids". "I want to give one to that boy," he pleaded. I squeezed my son's hand just a little tighter and told him: "You already did." As we walked, I saw his little grin out of the corner of my eye. My son couldn't read the words on the band-aid holder either. But I knew he understood them.
I went to work at my law firm the next day. The desks of the associate attorneys in my law office, as well as my own, all are equipped with a box of tissues, each strategically placed within reach of the clients' chairs. I put an empty box of band-aids next to the tissues in all of the offices just yesterday. I got a papercut on my finger later in the day. I couldn't find a band-aid. My staff thinks I'm off my rocker.