I was cutting grass, head down, thinking about how the warm weather had finally gotten here as he wheeled around the corner on his scooter. I looked up to see a seven year old wearing a wrinkled, too small t-shirt and an expectant look on his face. I quit cutting and said, “How are you this morning?” He bounced in place, hopping on and off his scooter, “I’m okay. I wish I could play with my friends that live over there.” He pointed to a house a few doors down. “I bet you do. Maybe they like to sleep in on Saturday mornings. A lot of folks do that. It feels good, don’t you think?” He looked at me as he thought about it, “Yeah, I guess it does.”
And because I wanted to get my chores done so I could play in the sun, I went back to cutting the grass. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him watching me until he gave up and went back home.
A few minutes later, I heard the sounds of a basketball being dribbled around the corner. The sound kept getting louder. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t look up at him. I can give you all the reasons why I didn’t. I’m not convinced that I could justify my reasons.
I kept cutting grass with my head down, listening to the basketball, afraid to strike up another conversation. If I chatted with him, he’d end up hanging in our driveway, drawing chalk smiley faces, eating cinnamony toast and finagling an invite to lunch. Only that’s not what he was hungry for. I know what he was hungry for. He was hungry for attention. Why else would a seven year old bounce a basketball in front of a middle-aged woman that he didn’t know – for what seemed like five solid minutes? Continue reading →