My son is a man of modest means like his dad. He and his little family occupy and wee apartment just big enough for the three of them and little else. I was driving across parts of three states the other night and it was getting late so I stopped by to see if I could get a pillow, and a blanket, and a spot on the floor. It took a while but after waking a kind neighbor at about one a.m. I finally found his apartment and within a half hour I was sleeping soundly in the middle of the floor.
In the morning I got up and we had a good chat and a stout cup of good coffee. I looked around the living room and counted seven colorful, elaborate baby contraptions. There was a walker, a swing, a special bed, and a few bright-colored things that defy description. All of them are essential to a normal childhood development. All this for one little tiny mite of a boy who has just learned to hold his head up on his own. Judging from the paraphernalia that his parents have lavished upon him, I predict they are going to need a warehouse by the time he learns to walk.
I was reminded of an afternoon about twenty-two years ago. At the time we tried to live on $25.00 worth of groceries a week. We were in a Western Auto store when little Kyle’s eyes lit on a shiny black bike. I said, “Why don’t you ride it.” He was afraid. We tried but we couldn’t get him to get on the bike.
I winked at Lois and said; “Kyle, if you can ride that bike across the store I will buy it for you.” She smiled and signed on to the deal saying, “Ride it Kyle, and Daddy will buy it for you.”
He was hooked. He got on the bike and wobble-teetered across the store. We took our grocery money and spent it on a bike for our first-born son. That week we ate dry soy-based meals out of our pantry. After work I pulled Kyle behind me on his bike on my runs though the neighborhood. One day I left him behind and he cried so hard his mom loaded his little bike up in the car and they caught up with me. He followed along sobbing now and then from his hard cry.
There is something wonderfully, selfishly fulfilling about lavishing gifts on your children. That must be the way God feels about me because, I’m a witness, He has been so good to me that sometimes I think he has me confused with someone else.
I’m going to remind Kyle of this next time I see him. Maybe he will upgrade me from “Floor and Coffee” to “Bed and Breakfast” next time I happen through town.
September 18, 2007