Last night, my son and I went to XBos. It’s like Chuck-E-Cheese but bigger and cooler. I sat at a table with my laptop, looking up information for an article, while my son and his friend were running around on the monstrously huge jungle gym. My son has a knack for getting a crowd going at these kinds of places. Within minutes a whole group of kids were chasing each other. I sat back and smiled, content my son was having fun.
Last fall, when my son was having a very rough time with his previous charter school “in the county of Kent”, there were rare moments of happiness for him. Once a week though, he would get very excited for a TV show called Back In The Game. This show was about a woman with a ten year old son who got divorced and moved back in with her dad. The son was on a little league team that couldn’t win anything if they tried. The mother and grandfather coached the team, and the shenanigans blew up in every episode. My son loved it! On the show, the son really liked this one girl, and eventually she liked him. Unfortunately, the show got canceled after 10 episodes.
Back to XBos. I notice a boy and two girls are hanging out with my son and his friend. I notice my son and one of the girls are acting very chummy with each other. I go back to my laptop, and I look up again and they are sitting on a bench talking with each other. My son was smiling from ear to ear, and so was the girl. At that moment, I remembered what it felt like to be a ten year old with my first big crush. I let the moment play out as long as it could. The girl’s grandmother came over and said “Pizza’s here”, and we had to leave anyways. He said goodbye to the boy and the girls and he had this grin on his face.
As we were walking to the car I asked my son what her name was. He told me, and I knew he was smitten. I asked him where she went to school, and he said she lived in a town that was pretty far from where we lived. He realized he may never see her again and I saw the hope in his eyes disappear. I told him we should go back in and he should get her Facebook or Twitter handle. He said “Great idea! Or maybe Instagram!”
We walked back in, and I saw the girl’s eyes light up with excitement seeing him again. My son played it cool, and asked her brother first for his Instagram account. He didn’t have one, so he asked the girl. She gave it to him, and the whole car ride home he was just smiling, staring out the window.
My son was a perfectly normal ten year old boy, and none of his disabilities or disappointments mattered. We got home, and within an hour, he connected with the girl on Instagram. He had this dreamy look in his eyes that I had never seen before. I asked him if he ever felt this way before, and he said no. I looked at her picture, and I said to him “Doesn’t she look like that girl from Back In The Game?” to which he replied “How did you know?”
There’s something about hope in a young boy’s life that should never be taken for granted. It’s something we have all experienced, but don’t hold onto as much as we should. I don’t know how things will turn out with the X-Bos Instagram Back In The Game girl, but for now, let him have fun with it. It’s harmless, it’s innocent, and my son is the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time. The tears from ten months ago are gone, and for the most part the wounds have healed. His self-confidence is up, and he has lots of friends. And now he has a big-time crush. He’s back in the game!