He spotted us the second we walked in the door and commented on my Skidamarink's white-blonde hair. He had hair that color when he was a boy. Now it's grey. The man approached us from his spot by the oranges, asking Skid, "What's wrong with your ear? Did you know there's something behind your ear?" He pulls a quarter out from behind my boy's head. Skidamarink smiles and says thank you as the man hands him the quarter. The man chats about how when he was a boy he would ride the bus into town and watch a movie and eat "a bag of corn" and ride the bus home for a quarter. "Not much you can do with a quarter these days." He smiles and chats for a few minutes more about white-blonde hair and quarters. Then he hits us with his news: "I have to go to a funeral today. My daughter's funeral. Paren't aren't supposed to live longer than their children." And before I can say a word to him, he turns and walks away. All I can do is pray for him, so I do.
When Cap asks me in desperation, "Mom, why am I staying 4 forever?!?" I understand why he is frustrated. He's in a hurry to grow up. He says he wants to marry his friend from school and have a baby of his own and have whiskers just like daddy. And I know it's frustrating to wait so long to grow - to feel like you can't do anything important. But, when I think of the man with the quarter in the grocery store I know how important 4 and 2 and all of those young years are to the world.
The man didn't do much more than glance at me. He didn't ask my name and didn't offer his. I wasn't the one he needed to talk to. There are some gifts that can only come from children. I know that on that particular day - likely the worst of his entire life - he recieved a blessing from my boy. Skidamarink brought a smile to that man's face. He gave him a gift of joy and a memory of happy days. I couldn't have done that. But my sweet little 2-year-old did. God's loving embrace through the smile of a little blonde-haired boy.