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.