This past weekend we went to a local baseball game with an out of town friend.
Half way through the game it came to our attention that there was a man giving away free “energy-efficent” lightbulbs.
(Who cares right? Well. . .my husband, that’s who. If it’s free my husband is buying.)
So, against my better judgement, Adam sent both of our kids down the stadium steps and out to the park entrance (which in my mind could just as well have been China) to pick up some lights.
(To be clear, the stadium is small, we could see the kids the whole way, and we told them to stay together. I’m just SUPER paranoid.)
I don’t like my kids to be out of arms reach at anytime, so this is the first thing on the list of events that night that would never have happened if my kids didn’t have such an active father.
The second thing was this: my husband kept sending our son down to get more lights.
Over and over our son was walking down the stairs, alone, and returning with a lightbulb in each hand.
I would never have suggested this, and not just because I’m over protective, but also because I get embarrassed.
And just when I started to get really annoyed, Adam upped the anti and told our son to go down and offer to help PASS OUT more lightbulbs.
And all my “people pleasing/don’t rock the boat” tendencies came on full-force.
“Don’t bother that nice man, quit walking passed all these kind people, just sit still and be quiet. . . and hold my hand.”
But Adam won the moment, and our tiny-little-was-just-a-new-born-baby-yesterday son ran down the stairs and back out into the wild-frounteer that is the entrance to the park, without me.
While I sat there trying to breath through my nervous heart palpitations I glanced down at my son from the top of the bleachers and realized something…
My husband, in his infinite wisdom, was teaching my son how to interact with strangers. He was teaching him to step-up and offer help. He was coaching him on how to get the attention of the folks passing-by.
How to not fade, but not be rude.
And most important, he was showing our son that we trust him, instilling confidence, displaying a ton of respect.
It was fascinating to look down and watch my boy learning so much in such a spur-of-the-moment, and totally unexpected way.
At the same time, it was humbling.
Humbling to know that my desire to keep my son safe, might not always be in his best interest.
My need to hold him close could sometimes be the very thing that holds him back from real, honest, hands-on life experience.
I would NEVER have encouraged him to offer his help to a stranger.
I would have been too concerned with being a bother, too concerned with keeping him wrapped up in my arms.
But man oh man, what an experience that he would have missed out on.
After they’d passed out all the lights, that very kind and patient man gave my son four tokens as a payment for all his “help”.
They are worth a dollar a piece, but my son doesn’t want to cash them in. He calls them his “treasure” and has them stashed in a hiding place in his room.
So much pride.
(Those green things on his wrists are the sleeves that the light bulbs were in. He turned them into superhero wrist shields, a-la wonder woman.)
When it was all over our son ran back up those stairs from China and showed us his four tokens to which my husband exclaimed,
“Oh man, that’s awesome!
I’m so proud of you!”
Guys. . .
Dads are SO important.