The profound wisdom of a four year old.
Occasionally, from the mouth of a child will escape words that convey ideas that are truly profound and devastatingly beautiful. Usually it’s fart noises or poop jokes but occasionally it’s this other stuff.
Earlier today, my youngest son had one such instance. He was hanging with my parents as he does while his mom and I are at work and his two brothers are at school. He was bugging his grandparents to take him somewhere and to do something fun. His grandpa, tired of simply telling him no, said that they couldn’t do anything because they were “too poor.”
My dad was only kidding; saying something that he hoped would satisfy as an answer and possibly drop the issue of having to brave the cold, Wyoming winter in search of fun. Unfortunately for my dad, his youngest grandson responded immediately and sincerely.
“I’m not poor,” he said. “I have a family.”
Mic drop, heart melt, fuzzy feely insides glitter bomb.
I’M NOT POOR, I HAVE A FAMILY.
It’s the kind of truth that can only be uttered by a child because their minds are not yet cluttered by the irritations of adult responsibilities; their hearts are still pure. It’s a truth that reverberates backwards in time, connecting the matrix of our existence along the infinite transference of knowledge that is the familial lineage. It is the truth of love.
My dad put on pants and took him out on the town to buy toys and socks. Chalk up a win for the little guy…
But back to what he said, “I’m not poor, I have a family.”
I’ve been thinking about this since my dad relayed the story to me. It’s the kind of thing you might read on the inside of a Dove chocolate wrapper or a cheesey “get well” card. It’s the kind of thing that we are tempted to discount as emotionally frivolous. It’s the kind of thing that is so painfully obvious that we forget to care about it.
Family takes many forms but as I see it, at it’s core it is simply this. Family is the people whom you love and are willing to dedicate your life to.
What else, in this life, is there?
What my youngest son understands intuitively is the richness of family. If I do nothing else in my life, the fact that my child understands this means that I have succeeded. But this success is not my own. It belongs to my wife and my parents and my uncles and aunts and my grandparents and their uncles and aunts and grandparents. It belongs to my friends and the families that extend beyond them. It belongs to anyone and everyone who has shined love upon this life that we are each so lucky to experience. The wealth is truly abundant.
I am reminded, in this magical time of year which can be so hard and so stressful; to be thankful for what truly matters.
I am reminded that I am not poor, I have a family.