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Paying it backward, Big Guy style

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published July 24, 2007, thehive.modbee.com   

Big Guy bounced out of bed Sunday with a broad grin. And Big Guy, mind you, never bounces of bed. Stomps and scowls occasionally, but never bounces.

“Go to Target after breakfast?”

That was shock No. 2. He was volunteering  to eat breakfast. Where’s the argument? Where’s the fuss?

“I sure am, babes,” I said. “Let’s get moving!”

He’d been saving since spring to buy “Madagascar.” I’m not sure what started his obsession with the movie, but we were shopping one day and he just had  to have it. And I, having recently bought two Easter bunny movies, was not about to buy it.

“Tell you what. You have $8 in your special drawer right now. You know Gramma and your aunts send money for your birthday. You save all that money, and you buy it.”

I was amazed at how fast he got it. Quickly enough that the second Dad’s jeans were tossed on the floor, the pockets and their change were fair game. “Is this enough, Mommy?” he’d ask, clutching a few quarters. “Not yet, babes.”

Three months and four birthday cards later, he was over the top. Hence the Sunday morning rush to Target.

“What if they don’t have it there?” he asked, frowning.

“Don’t worry. If it’s not there, we’ll find it somewhere.” And if we’d had to hit every store in the county to find it, we would have. You don’t let a little booger down when he’s worked this hard for something.

Fortunately, Target had it. I played dumb and let Big Guy find it himself, while Little Guy busied himself pleading for “Thomas movie.”

Big Guy grabbed “Madagascar” and dance happily with his Hope diamond. “I get to put it to the checkout myself, you know,” he said.

Midway down the movie aisle, though, Little Guy really started working it. Tiny stomps rained and little pearl formed in his eyes. “Tomas, peeeesseeee!”

Big Guy studied him for a minute. “Mommy, do I have enough money to buy brother a ‘Thomas,’ too?”

It’s probably the sweetest thing Big Guy’s done in his life. He looked at his tear-stained brother — the kid he’ll grab a toy from in a heartbeat, the constant pain in his butt, the person he loves to torture just for sport – knew he could make those tears go away and offered to do it.

Times like this, you think the kid’s gonna be all right.

Sunday convinced me Big Guy’s old enough for a regular allowance. I told him he’ll get $5 a week, but out of that money, he’ll have to buy his candy, gum and toys.

Eyes wide at the stack of one-dollar bills, he agreed and started planning his next purchase – a Mickey Mouse movie he’d also wanted Sunday.

I know the full reality hasn’t set in yet. I’m sure he doesn’t understand that when he wants TicTacs at the convenience store, it’s coming out of his ratty, hand-me-down wallet. I’m positive he doesn’t get that when he wants his oranges Jelly Bellies, he’s going to have to make a hard choice.

Some choices, though, are easy. Like the one to suddenly “find” enough change in Big Guy’s wallet to cover a small gap on the Thomas tab. 

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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