My son Benjamin isn't always the easiest kid to get along with, or to parent. The reasons why aren't a discussion for today. Just know that he's never had TONS of friends. CYT has seemed to help him open up in different ways and a few new guy friends.
This latest CYT show was a new experience for us all. First show in 2 years that Madeleine hasn't participated, first solo show for Ben, Ben didn't have a super strong audition, didn't get called back, got a smaller part than he's previously gotten, he wasn't super excited about his costume (I thought it was adorable) and he hated his makeup (although after I let him vent initially, he never complained about it again). Then, he got sick for one show and had to miss it. I knew he was going through some trials but I was excited to see what God had planned, what kind of growth Ben was going to experience.
Ben was cast as one of two crabs, and the other crab happened to be a boy (I.) we've gotten to know a bit through a couple other shows. He and Ben really started to bond over "boy" stuff during the run of the show. Ben attempted to stay the night with I. on opening night (but doesn't do sleepovers so ended up coming home), and that night I saw something new to me in my son. He was crying when he came home, because he felt bad for his buddy. He worried about how disappointed I. would be when he woke up and found Ben gone.
Ben and his buddy are the two crabs.
Courtesy of Five Wishes Photography.
Then, during our closing show party, something happened that I will never forget. Awards were begin given out, and an award was given to Ben's friend for staying in character as a Crab. Disappointing, since there's only 2 crabs and they basically did the same thing, but the awards aren't like the Academy Awards or anything. I was happy for I. but sad for Ben. A few moments after that award was given, I see Madeleine walking with Ben to find me, and they are both crying. Madeleine says, "Ben is sad because I. got the award but not him." Ben lunges for me, sobbing so loud and making a bit of a scene, getting red makeup all over my white lace shirt. But as his Momma, all I could do was hold him and let him cry. It's not like anything wrong was done, or there was anyone to talk to who could change it. It was what it was....just a part of how life goes. I.'s mom came over and asked what was wrong, and I briefly told her, making sure she knows we weren't mad or anything, just disappointed and working through it. (BTW, I.'s mom is one of my favorite people ever). Ben seemed to be fine after a few moments, and we proceeded to get ready to wrap up the party.
Well, Teddy comes up a couple minutes later and tells me that Ben needs to share something with me in the car. I asked him to please just tell me and I'll feign ignorance in the car, because if it's something bad I don't want to overreact. He tells me that after the awards, I. came up to Ben with his award certificate. I. had crossed out his name, wrote in Ben's, and on the back wrote, "You stayed in character better than me." He then told Ben that he was his best friend and deserved the award more than him. Oh. My. Gosh. I started to cry, super hard then found I.'s mom and gave her a big hug, telling her that she raised a boy who's heart is so good. She started to cry too, and said she just told I. to go give Ben a hug to encourage him! I found I. and blubbered some dumb things about being a good kid and a good friend and has a heart for God and yada yada yada, probably overwhelming the poor 10 year old kid!
But I will never forget what he did. I. valued his friend's feelings more than his award, even though I. deserved the award. He cared more about encouraging Ben than having pride in himself. He showed initiative, kindness, compassion. I think it might be the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for Ben. Ben didn't really care about the award. He cared about being noticed, and I. took the time to NOTICE Ben. Isn't that what we all really want? To know that we are SEEN? That we matter? I. did this for Ben, and in the process taught me about loving another person...something I've not been too good at lately. And taught me a little about what I truly desire from God...to know that He SEES me and KNOWS me.
Thanks, dear I.'s mom, for raising a boy of such character. You should be proud. And thanks, I. I hope you are my son's friend for a very long time, and I hope I can be a little like you when I grow up.