I’m Allergic to Walnuts. No I’m not, but I know someone who lied about it. Teaching your kids not to lie is a pillar of parenthood right? Well this time I was okay with it, and I’d be curious to hear what you think too.
My mom sent me a text last week saying she would like to bring the kids lunch at school, we set up the day to do it and it just happened to be this past Wednesday. Later that day I asked her how it went, she texted me what every parent wants to hear: “Lunch was GREAT, it’s so fun to see them at school. They’re both so polite and they thanked me a lot! I hope they enjoyed it as much as I do. Graham is truly the most kind young man. He brought his friend from the allergy table to our table. He said he eats with him everyday so he doesn’t have to eat alone. He is so kind.”
BOOM!! I am raising great kids, despite how I portray them on social media, my outlandish style of parenting seems to be bearing fruit!!
Seriously though, my heart was warmed by that. We as parents get to see the day to day, the whining and bad attitudes, the badgering of picking up dog poop & cleaning rooms, and harassing them to brush their teeth. But we don’t always have the opportunity to see them in the wild. It’s wonderful to hear about how they act when you’re not around. I was curious about the allergy friend though. I didn’t know about this at all.
With Heidi’s and my full schedules we guilt each other into choosing who goes to pick up the kids from school, (apparently 4 miles is too far for a six year old to ride her bike, sigh). My work load was a little lighter so I went to get them. As we pulled out of the drive line I asked them both the typical questions, how was school? What did you learn? They answered the usual, “Good, nothing.”
“Hey Graham, tell me about the kid at the allergy table.”
Graham: “Dad, his name is Zohair, he has to sit at the allergy table by himself, so I invited him to sit with Ama and I for lunch. All the other days I go sit with him at the allergy table.”
“Wow buddy that is really cool! But you’re not allergic to anything, are you allowed to sit with him?” The density of my own words flicked me in brain as the words came out.
“I just told the lunch lady I was allergic to walnuts so he wouldn’t be alone.”
I was silent for a few seconds. My dad heart exploded inside my chest for this 10 year old boy. He said it so matter of factly and calm as though there wasn’t another option. As we drove he looked out the window, I told him how proud I was.
Dad Me: “You do know it’s wrong to lie right?”
“Yes, but him being alone is worse.”
Who is this kid to keep dropping truth bombs on me?
Me: “What is Zohair allergic to?”
“Cheese, dairy, nuts, other dumb stuff.”
“Dude you bring cheese & chocolate milk with you sometimes for lunch.”
“It’s only bad if it gets on him, I keep my cheese to myself.”
“Of course you do, Graham. I love you and I am very proud of you.”
“Thanks dad, can we play catch this afternoon?”
We did play catch that afternoon. And all I could think about is how ‘Zohair being alone is worse’. Who is alone in my life? Who is sitting at the allergy table in need of a friend? One of the things I love about Graham is that he just acted. If it weren’t for my mom’s text, I bet I would’ve never known this little nugget about my boy. He saw some one alone and went to be by him. I bet they often talk about Star Wars, Spiderman and Captain Underpants, all things 10 year old boy. I love that he saw someone alone as a metaphorical dark room that he just needed to flip the switch on. Sitting next to him turned the light on.
I don’t even know if Zohair was lonely. But I know I am 38 and I get lonely after 30 minutes alone in my office! We are relational creatures, I think all of us, no matter how much people can annoy us at times, and how much we cherish our alone time, we are allergic to being lonely. Did you know that next to capital punishment, solitary confinement is the harshest punishment that can be administered? Go get an allergy this holiday season and get by some people. Walnuts seem like a good nut to lie about.
Graham, thank you for seeing Zohair. I truly hope the lunch lady or the school doesn’t see this note. Mom, thank you for taking lunch to the kids, I wouldn’t have heard this if it weren’t for your act of kindness.
If you’re alone tonight, feel free to come hand out candy with me 1841 E Indigo Dr in Chandler. I’ve got chocolate with nuts in it.