Tyler found Robb's racquetball bag. He used to play an evening or two each week, and his bag had not been unzipped since he last played.
Tyler was nothing less than an archaeologist with this great find. He could wear Daddy's gloves and know how big his hands were. He wore the safety glasses all over the house and perhaps to the grocery store. He found a pair of athletic boxers tucked into one of the pockets, and although it embarrassed him to find something so personal, he also had to giggle. "Mommy, they're really big."
Thankfully, Robb had two racquets, so there is now one for each boy. They have become experts at chasing the bouncing ball around the cul de sac; I remember doing the very same thing on Byron Drive, excelling at the tennis match happening in my imagination.
Tyler came inside from playing with the neighborhood boys, and he said, "I gave one of the gloves to the boy across the street."
My heart did that thing it does when I realize something of Robb's is gone, misplaced or faded. "Daddy's glove? You gave him Daddy's glove?"
"Yes. He didn't have one." He explained this so matter of factly.
"Tyler, you need to get it back, please. Go to his house and tell him you made a mistake. Please get the glove back."
"But, Mommy, he didn't have one. Not even one at all."
"If you're embarrassed, you can tell him your mom wants it back. Blame it on me. But please go get it."
He didn't argue, but he was sure I was missing an important piece of information. "Mommy, I had two, and he didn't have even one. So I gave him one of mine."
Tyler is a sharing hero. He has recognized the joy of giving things away, and nothing stays his for long. At soccer practice, he shared the entire bag of goldfish crackers. Even more impressive, he broke off three bars of the KitKat and kept only one for himself. He's like the pied piper out there. All the other children come running, and Tyler gives with open hands.
"Mommy, why should I have two when he doesn't even have one?"
Because it's your dad's, babe. Because it matters to me. Because it will matter to you in another ten years, and twenty more after that. But I didn't say any of this.
My son gives without regret. If I ask him to retrieve the gift, he will feel like an unfaithful friend, and he will now believe it's best to question whether or not to give, whether this is something important, sentimental, expensive, or irreplaceable. If I ask him to get the glove, a glove I actually don't need, a piece of remembering that exists just as well in my mind, then I'll teach him to collect and keep and hoard and fear the slipping away of things.
We parted with the glove.
I bet it was hard to let it go... I can understand the need to hang on to something like that. Just look in my sock drawer at all the notes I have received from different people that meant something to me over the years. As I sit here thinking what would I have done, I am not sure I wouldn't have gone to get that which I wanted to keep. In the end you made a great choice because you considered Tyler's heart and what he would really learn from that.
Thanks for sharing this story. Blessings to you and the boys. I pray May will be filled with Joy at the Culdesac!
I think it's completely understandable that you want (or even need) to hang onto both gloves - for yourself and for your boys, if not now then in the future, and I honestly don't think I would have been able to make myself part with it were I in a similar situation. Yes, it's a kind, generous thing to do, but there's an element of self-protection that enters into the equation. Logic and emotions don't always go hand in hand, and that's not wrong. One of the hardest things for me as a parent is teaching my children that kindness and protection must also extend to themselves, not just to others. I like the photo idea - or maybe the friend could just borrow that one until he gets one of his own - even if that means taking the boys to a few garage sales or letting them have a few lemonade stands to find a bargain glove and/or to raise the money to buy one that will be the friends' "for keeps."
My husband's mother died when he was 5 years old. His oldest sister was 12 and the middle sister was 8. They kept the last jar of tomatoes that she canned until the lid rusted through. Sometimes you just need a tangible connection.
My grandfather was like a daddy to me and I was devastated when he died in 1993. I have a can of split pea soup in the cupboard (sharpied with "NO" clearly on the lid) that was his favorite. And his watch in my junk drawer. I like having the items in random places so they can elicit a smile when I see them.
WOW! Man, I get the dilema.
Giving up our husband's things is so hard to deal with. I have a "happy medium" suggestion, though, if you want to do this: have Tyler ask his friend if you can borrow the glove back for a couple of minutes, and take a photo of it. Taking photos of some of Dwight's things is the only way I am able to release them to new owners. Most of the time it's the memories I really want to keep (photos work better than my mind for remembering!), not the objects themselves, and that way I can share the photos with others, like my kids, who might like to remember, too. I think Tyler is old enough for a simple explanation that while you don't need to keep all of Daddy's things, you might like a way to remember them. Maybe if a similar situation comes up again, he might even stop to ask if you want a photo before he gives it away, lol! He has a great heart.
Great ideas, Patty. Maybe a photo of all the racquetball gear with the bag. I, too, need something to jog my memory, even for significant things. Photos are great for that. Also love the explanation you'd give Tyler.
Tricia, how thoughtful of you, truly thinking this through, to see and protect Tyler's generous heart.
Patty, this is a wonderful suggestion. She may even consider having Tyler place his hand next to the glove in the picture, so he could see the size of the glove next to his hand when the glove was given away! Tyler absolutely does have a great heart