It was kind of a rough day. I had a nagging headache. My knees and lower back reminded me of my age. The sky was a bit overcast making it difficult to find the sun. The recent national events had me worried; seeing a lack of civility and grace. It bothered me so much that I was struggling to see a positive horizon. And today was Lunch Buddy day. It was also the day I stayed a little longer and read to the 2nd grade class at my local school.
Normally, I really cherished this day each month. I love children and connecting with them is a reward…. a pick-me-up. But today it was going to take a little more to lift my head.
I didn’t bring anything special to lunch like I normally would. Today just showing up was accomplishing something!
Then I entered the lunchroom. My first hug came from a young boy who wore two unmatched shoes. My second from a little girl with bright red hair and wildly cute freckles. Each shouted my name as if I was a Rockstar. All hugs were genuine and enthusiastic. I started to feel a little better.
My own lunch buddy was a bit more reserved. He waited for me to journey to his table. I sat next to him and gave him a quick pat on the back. He returned a small grin and a quiet hello.
He was not normally an outgoing personality so I didn’t think too much at first. But I quickly noticed something was not as it should be.
“How is it going?” I asked.
“Not real good today.” He replied with a crack in his voice.
I let the words rest for a moment – offering him the cookie from my tray.
“It’s kind of rough.” He began to open just a bit.
“Dad is really mad about the news. He watches TV all the time and yells. Last night he got real mad and told me our world was doomed.”
I just sat and listened. This little guy wasn’t worried about our nation. He was worried about his home. He needed an adult to say those ever important words a child deserves and needs to hear, “Everything is going to be ok.”
“I’m worried,” he said. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes. “Do you think I’m going to be able to play baseball this spring because of what my Dad is seeing on the news?”
And suddenly my back and knees didn’t matter. My headache was gone. I didn’t worry about my own victories or losses. There were children to protect. There were futures to stand for.
I am an adult who cares for kids. It is my job.
“Everything is going to be ok.”