This re-post from 12/10 is dedicated to my beloved nephew Jeremy, because I miss him.
We work hard to shield kids from all things bad. In the process, though, we rob them of opportunities to learn to cope with adversity.
I wish I'd been taught that life's unfair, instead of being hit by pain time and again, completely ill-prepared.
I wish I'd been given an umbrella, one that I could use in the sun or rain.
I wish I'd been raised like my nephew, Jeremy.
On the first morning of my visit, Jeremy entered the guest room to announce, with arms outstretched in explanatory fashion, "It's a sunny day! It's a sunny day!"
"You're right, sweetie." I colluded with his denial, as rain continued pounding on the window panes. "It's a sunny day, Jeremy."
"Yeah," he sighed, plopping down beside me on the air mattress. "Rain is too scary." He shook his head from side to side. "It's dark. I don't like it."
"It is scary," I confirmed, wrapping my arm around him. "But today is a sunny day for us."
With that, Jeremy popped up and began jumping wildly on the mattress like a yo-yo on crack. "I'm a rock star! I'm a rock star!" He shouted. "Oh yeah! I'm a rock star!"
Mind you, the kid's growing up in L.A. where everyone and their i-Pod is a rock star. In fact, all inanimate objects suffer from some degree of rock stardom. Soda cans are labeled "rock star," chewing gum, gaudy sunglasses, and glittery T-shirts. You name it - all rockstars. None is quite like my Jeremy, though.
So when I called him to say "Happy Hanukah" last night, Jeremy told me that he got a Toy Story mm-brella for Hanukah.
"You got a Toy Story umbrella? That's very special," I assured.
"Yep. I used it today. 'Cuz it's raining," he said with excitement.
With his umbrella, Jeremy now welcomes the rain.
I hung up longing for the childhood in which I was given an umbrella, one that I could use in the sun or rain. I'm glad Jeremy has one.