He jumped out of his “Cars” bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He had patiently been waiting for this day for a long time. He put on his navy blue t-shirt, which of course sported the number “2” on the back. He dug through a pile of clothes to find his baseball cap. He was ready to go.
My parents received 3 foster children into their home about 15 months ago. These kids have changed all of our lives. At this point, I don’t think anyone in my family could imagine life without them. They are all very unique and have their own individual personalities and quirks. But this one, well, he might just be my favorite. Shhh….don’t tell anyone. I know you are not supposed to have favorites, but I almost always do. I have a favorite family member. I have a favorite grandparent. I definitely have favorites. And he is one of them.
At 5 years old, Bruce is usually calm and quiet. But it should come as no surprise to you that those quiet types are the dangerous ones. He is the one that might not say much, but then he’ll sneak up on you in the middle of January with a devilish grin on his face and throw a snowball in your face when you least expect it. He is the one that may or may not have a just a bit of a problem with fibbing. But he is also the one who is the first to tell on himself when he has done something wrong. He is the one who, no matter what time of the day it is, he is always up for cuddling. He is the one who will sit on your lap while watching a movie and almost immediately fall asleep with his head on your chest. He is the one who pronounces things in the most adorable way, usually with a hint of a lisp. And, lastly, he is the one who is a Yankees fan.
Which, naturally, makes him my favorite!
And the day had finally come. When I moved back to America last year, I promised him that when school was done I would take him to see the Yankees in person. And then it began – the same question once a week, every week from September-June. “Alicia, when we gonna go see da Yankees?” And my response was always the same – “As soon as summer is here and school is done. So when the last week of school was in effect he asked it again, and this time I was able to say “next week.” His face lit up with excitement.
We rode the train into the city and made our way to Yankee Stadium. He was in awe. I could see the little wheels in his mind turning as he took it all in. And then the climax of his life thus far – he saw the number “2” up on the billboard as they announced the name of the man who he idolizes. “And on short stop we have Derek Jeter”. He was in heaven.
As I watched him take it all in, his first Yankees game, I thought about his life. At 5 years old he has seen and experienced more than any child should. He has dealt with things that no child should ever have to deal with. But for those brief few hours that day, he was able to forget it all as he was living in a moment that he had could only dream about for a long time. And it made me think of his life now, compared to 15 months ago.
As my parents are on the verge of quite possibly being able to adopt those 3 children, I am grateful that although these children already have a lot of baggage in the few short years they have lived, they are being given a second chance. They are being given a chance to dream all over again. They are being given a chance to be happy. And they are being given a chance to have a better life.
It’s not about the “stuff” they now have, and it’s not about being able to go to Yankees games. But it is about being able to see the glimmer in his eyes and seeing him come alive. And this is why I am reminded all over again that no matter how hard the fight is in court, these kids are worth it because they deserve to have hope. They deserve to be able to live without fear. They deserve to be loved. And they deserve a better life.