Gresham, age seven, handed me a wrinkled scrap of paper. On it was scrawled a list.
As a child I at least had the courtesy to hand my parents a list complete with corresponding page numbers from the Service Merchandise catalog and prices for each item. Kids these days.
“Why do you think you’re getting presents for Christmas? It’s not your birthday is it?”
Unfazed by the runaround he said, “Granda and Nonnie buy me presents.”
“True, but why? It’s not your birthday. Kinda weird huh?”
“They just do,” he said matter-of-factly as if explaining to a three year-old that two plus two is four. It just is.
“It’s Jesus’ birthday but you get the presents? What does Jesus get?”
He closed his eyes and pondered. Stumped.
I grinned, rather amazed, honestly, at my ability to create such a profound perspective-shifting moment in the life of my child from the raw materials of, well, nothing but a tiny scrap of paper with ten little misspelled words on it.
Those Nobel folks should create a prize for fathers like me. They should study this brilliant exchange in child development classes. Perhaps I should teach one. Or would the University be beneath a man of my obvious skill. Perhaps the UN could dispatch me to first world nations to negotiate an immediate cancellation of third world debts.
Then the little bugger’s eyes popped open again.
“Does Jesus have a grandma?” he asked.
“Well, I guess so. I guess he does.”
“You should probably ask her what he’s getting.”