Good as new

As most of you know, the holidays often bring emotional turbulence to our home.  Two Christmases ago was no exception.  Ex was to take the kids for the first few days of the winter break and return them on Christmas Day at noon.  (They were early, which was perfectly fine by me.)

The children had received a few gifts already including one amphibious remote control vehicle, a “morphibian” for which Little Man had been angling for months.  I had let him open that one gift early because they would be staying at a hotel with a pool.  He had packed it carefully in his suitcase.  When the children returned, he told me the mournful story of having dropped the remote into the pool—Game Over.  The kid was crestfallen, it had been the first time he had played with it.

I wondered if Ex had purposefully let him take the remote near the pool.  I knew he wouldn’t replace it, and wasn’t sure if I should, but the boy didn’t want another one, he wanted that one. It was effectively a paperweight, but Little Man wouldn’t part with it, not during various subsequent room-cleans.  Even though it was broken, it was “special” because I had given it to him and it had been something he really wanted. (Boy, do I know what that feels like.)

He has brought it up frequently, especially lately, as an example of one of the ways his father has let him down.  (How exactly, I’m not sure, but the association is somehow there.)

Today, his older brother took the thing, “Let me have a look at it.”  (His tinkering skills improve with each passing day.)  Fifteen minutes later, he had rewired the thing, put in fresh batteries, and I could hear the irritating spin of the vehicle’s electric motor.  Little Man was overjoyed.  He threw his arms around his rather embarrassed twelve-year-old brother’s neck.  He filled the bathtub and took it for a spin. He thanked his brother profusely, something which certainly isn’t happening as frequently as it should these days.

I thanked my elder son, too, and I also thanked God for a precious dose of harmony and for an opportunity for a struggling kid to feel successful, to feel valued, loved, and important.

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