Recently I got to accompany my 5-year-old on a field trip with his PreK class to an aquarium about an hour away. My son, who is always hesitant to try new things, did NOT want to go. In his mind, when you go to school, you STAY at school, and he was freaked out about getting on a big bus and being out of the building the entire school day. To help ease his fears, I signed up to go with the class.
After a few tears at departure time, he did great, and despite the fact that mass quantities of preschoolers aren’t my jam (preschool teachers are the REAL HEROES), we had a fantastic day.
My son and I were paired up with another boy in his class, his “buddy” for the day, whom I’ll call Jason. Jason was a typical energetic 5-year-old boy, but he was really sweet and mostly good about staying with my son and me.
After we’d been there thirty minutes or so, Jason really seemed to take a shine to me. He would eagerly run over to take my hand when it was time to move on to a new part of the aquarium, and he soon began wrapping my arm around his neck and forcing me to pull him closer. After a little while longer, he looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said sincerely, “You’re my best friend.”
“Aww, thank you, Jason,” I said. “I’m so glad we got to be friends today.”
Now let me stop here and say I’m not that great. I’m just a regular old mom who prefers my kids to anyone else’s. Normally, I wouldn’t even volunteer to go on a field trip, because, well…like I said, not my jam. But for some reason, Jason liked me a lot. In fact, throughout the day he was much more affectionate with me than my own son was.
Soon he also told me, “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Jason.” I said. And I meant it. He was so sweet and lovable, and he was a joy to chaperone that day.
After the field trip, we stood waiting for our big old bus to pull up to our pickup point, but it was stuck in traffic, and we had to wait in the cold for a few minutes longer. Jason snuggled close to me for warmth as we stood holding hands. I leaned over to another parent and said quietly so he couldn’t hear, “Jason is so sweet. I never knew him before today. He keeps hugging me and saying he loves me.”
“Oh yeah, he IS really sweet,” she said.
And then she paused a beat, looked at me meaningfully, and said in a low voice, “He doesn’t have a mom.”
I felt my heart drop. “He doesn’t?”
“No,” she continued, “she abandoned him when he was a baby. His grandparents are raising him.”
I gave her a look that said my heart was broken as the line began to move. It was time to board the bus.
My heart broke for Jason, for all that he has lost. I cannot imagine my life without the loving influence and guidance of my wonderful mother.
My heart broke for Jason’s mom, for all that she was missing. Did she even know? Was she happy with her choice, or did she secretly long for snuggles and hugs and “I love you’s” that her son gave ME that day? Whether she knows it or not, the loss is truly hers.
We got back to the classroom and immediately it was time to go home. I got my son ready to go and we headed for the door. I saw Jason sitting oh his carpet square obediently waiting for his grandma to arrive. As I turned back toward him, his eyes LIT UP. I approached him and gave him a big hug.
“Thank you for being such a sweet buddy today,” I said.
Jason is in my heart now, and in my prayers. I am thankful he has loving grandparents, but I pray that we can keep connecting with him even after the school year is over so that he might be able to get some extra love and family time within our home.
And this I know: he doesn’t have a mom, but he has a loving Father. One who has promised to take the place of parents for those who have been abandoned. I pray Jason can come to know Him, too, and have what he’s lost be redeemed. Will you pray that with me, too?