For the last week or so, I’ve had to keep something quiet–per Oscar’s request. But recently he has been telling the story himself; so I now feel I have at least tacit permission to share.
The day before Thanksgiving, Oscar was playing with a pinwheel he had made in school. His fondness for his creation was obvious–which is an important detail to note.
When Oscar slipped out of the room to grab a snack, he gently placed his pinwheel on the dining room table. Edgar seized the opportunity, shall we say, and in a moment of–how might I phrase this diplomatically?–less-than-kind brotherly retribution for some ancient but obviously unforgotten transgression took the pinwheel and crumpled it.
Oscar came back from the kitchen, saw his pinwheel in disarray, let his brother know he was not happy, and then proceeded to grab a paper turkey hat Edgar had made at school that week. It was clear what he was thinking.
At this point I would have normally stepped in with Mahatma Gandhi’s wise adage, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and an admonition to avoid retribution. But something compelled me to hold back, to see what would happen next.
Edgar looked at Oscar, then at his turkey hat, with true horror in his eyes. He sensed his brother was about to rip it, to do essentially what he had just done to Oscar’s pinwheel. He cried out, “Please don’t.” And then he cried.
Oscar looked at Edgar, looked at the hat, then looked at me. He said, “I can’t do this. This means too much to him. He wore it at assembly. ”
And then, “Here, Edgar.”
Edgar took the hat and simply said, “Thank you, Oscar.”
And as I reflect during this Thanksgiving season on what it is I am most thankful for, I might start with the joy I feel when I think of who these young men are becoming.