Long story short, little man jammed his thumb while playing basketball at school. I fetched him and, after a false start at a closed-early-by-budget-cuts urgent care centre, we ended up across town at the ER.
Noah was his usual stoic, balanced little self, taking in the sights - a deathly ill-looking, wheelchair-bound woman smoking in a deepening snowdrift, a little girl around his age using a walker to get around - with the eye and demeanor of someone much older. He answered every question from the doctors and nurses with the kind of politeness that reminded me of my wife.
As we waited and waited, he hung out on the examining room bed, listening to kids who whined too much and parents who should have needed a license to procreate, smiling quietly at the circus but refusing to let it bother him. At one point, his lip quivered and tears began to fall: he was hungry. In the rush to get here, he hadn't had a chance to eat anything and it was now past suppertime. A promise to pick something up afterward stemmed the tears.
Eventually, the doc with a kind heart I wish we could both bottle and clone appeared and quickly diagnosed strained ligaments. Nothing broken, thank goodness. A splint for 5 days and pain reliever and ice. Back into the snowy night we went, picking our way to the open house at his school that he so very much didn't want to miss.
And his empty tummy? A Mars bar from the vending machine was all he wanted. And he got to eat it in my car, the one I always said would be a meal-free zone. It was a very special day, I said with a wink, so we could easily make an exception for him.
About halfway there, he sighed happily from the back seat and said this had been a great adventure for us. Despite the pain he still felt and the tough day he'd just experienced, our wise little guy somehow managed to see the big picture from inside our darkened car. I blinked back the tears and continued driving through the blinding snow.
Your turn: How do you find the good in something that isn't?