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A child reaches out at Christmas

Submitted by on Thursday, 11 December 2008 2 Comments

His name is Rigo, and we ran into him while shopping.

Technically, Big Guy ran into a tree decorated with snowman-shaped tags, and nothing gets a 5-year-old’s attention quicker at Christmas than colored lights and a fake pine in the grocery store.

Ordinarily, conscious of our temporary financial constraints, I would have rushed past. But Big Guy grabbed a paper that bore Rigo’s name. “What’s it say, Momma? I see an 8. What else?”

It says his name is Rigo, I said. He wears size medium and needs warm clothing. He wants board games or small cars.

“Why doesn’t his mommy buy it for him?”

Because some mommies and daddies are having trouble finding jobs, I said. It means that sometimes there’s not a lot of money left for presents.

“So who’s going to buy his presents?”

Well, that’s why they have the Christmas tree in the grocery store. They hope people will help make sure Rigo and other kids get presents and warm clothes this year.

“Can we help, Mommy? Please!! I love making presents.”

I’m quite good at telling the guys “no.” I even have an international string of “no” in several languages that I break out when they can’t grasp the concept in basic English, and they’ve heard it a lot since September.

But there was no way I could say “no” to that. Not when Big Guy had just given me a glimpse of a heart of gold buried beneath alternating layers of Sam Zell and Hanibal Lector.

“OK. We’ll do that.”

For three days since, it’s been a constant game of “What would Rigo want.”

“I know what Rigo needs,” Big Guy smiled as he wagged his finger at me in his “do not argue way.” I don’t know where he learned that. “I’m going to get him some nice warm pajamas. Some Christmas pajamas. And a soccer shirt. Do you think he likes soccer?”

I could see Rigo’s clothing budget exceeding the national debt.

“What kind of cars do you think he’d like? Oh, I know! Hot Wheels! Can I play with them, too?”

“You wouldn’t like it if someone played with your presents before you did, would you?”

“No, I wouldn’t. OK, we’ll buy them and wrap them. Can we go shopping now?”

His name is Rigo. He’s 8 and needs warm clothing. He wants board games or small cars.

Today, we’re going to go out and make sure he gets it.

Merry Christmas, Rigo.

And thank you, Big Guy, for giving me a glimpse of your light.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • ShyTrbleMaker said:

    Wow! Love that he’s so giving. You’ve obviously taught him well!

  • Debra said:

    You know, I’d like to take credit for teaching him well, but increasingly I realize that my role is just getting the heck out of the way and giving the innate goodness a chance to shine through. There’s a good heart there beneath all the bluff and bluster. I just try not to screw it up.