Name Tags

Sometimes it is not the parent that raises the child, but the child raises the parent. When I was 15-years-old, my son, Scott, was born. I was scared the first time I held him. I knew I had no idea how to handle such a vulnerable infant. Babies have exceptional needs to be fed, changed, rocked, and loved often and sleep is hard to come by for a new parent. There were no more normal teenage activities. My childhood had ended. Instant adulthood was frightening. I didn’t have long to think about it.

I learned what the deepest love in life felt like. It was a 2 a.m. feeding while I held and rocked him. The room was almost dark with only a small lamp to illuminate the large, dark, wood-paneled den. I looked into his tiny, soft, round face and brushed it lightly with my fingers. At that moment I began to realize he was a gift. God had created him and he was lying in my arms. A feeling of overwhelming inner warmth welled up inside me and I knew I’d never be the same. This child was changing my entire world forever.

Then I learned worry. He turned two. For Christmas he got his first vehicle. It was the kind that didn’t have pedals. The child propelled it with his feet pushing it forward. He quickly figured out speed was fun. In a moment I had my head turned, he launched full speed across the room running into the brick fireplace. His little nose crashed into the corner and the screams began. Fortunately his nose was the only thing damaged, but it would cause the growth of tissue which would deviate his septum and would lead to surgery when he was much older.

He was a happy child. He loved people. When he was three, he would walk up to perfect strangers in the grocery store and say, “Hi, my name is Scott. What’s your name?” At that time I did not realize that would be his success in life.

He loved children most of all. When his children were old enough to play flag football he became an assistant coach of their team. His best friend was the head coach. He would soon be telling those who attended Scott’s funeral at age 31, “I was the one who was tough on the kids. Scott was the one who dried their tears.” His daughter Alyssa was 7-years-old when he died. His son Scott, JR. was six.

The most valuable lesson he taught me was to appreciate those God puts in your path. Even if they are simply bagging your groceries and putting them in your car, notice their name tags, always say thank you, and use their name. My reward has always been a smile. I walk away hoping I brightened their day. This gift was given to me by a little boy who never thought about it. It was simply a natural inclination to care to know others.

© 2017……Phyllis Rogers


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