THE SONIC BOOMER
“I’m going to sort these out,” my 4-year-old grandson Skippy announced proudly as he surveyed a big pile of pebbles. Then, “What does ‘sort’ mean?”
“It means you’re going to put them into groups. Like, you might put all the white ones in one group,” I answered.
“Oh, yeah. Right.” He suddenly seemed to remember this from nursery school. And he got right to work. He put the large ones in one pile, the small ones in another, the black ones in one pile, the brown ones in another. Then he sorted out the tiniest ones, the roundest ones, the striped ones, the flattest ones and the ones with spots.
Once that was done, Skippy started selecting one at a time from the various piles. “These are for my collection,” he said. “These are my favoritest ones.”
I watched with interest as he explained why each one deserved to be in his baggie o’ favorites. It was inspiring to see how he chose them. He saw the beauty in each rock, holding some up to the light for a better look, enjoying the smoothness of others in his hand. At the end of this process, there were very few that had not made it into the baggie.
“I’ll clean up these other ones,” I said. But, whenever I would pick up a few he’d yell, “Pause!” (“Pause” is what the youngest generation has learned from handheld devices. No remote reads, “Wait!”) I would “pause” and then he’d find a few more he couldn’t do without. In the end, only the khaki colored pebbles remained unchosen — a color that, back in the day, used to be called “flesh.”
“Now I‘m going to put them all back together,” he said.
And he did. How wonderful would it be if Skippy’s logic ruled the world? How wonderful if, no matter how we were “sorted out,” we all ended up back together in the end — one big baggie o’ love. How special each one of us would feel having been scrutinized that closely and still having passed the “favoritest” test.
Some of us would have been chosen because we were the biggest; others, because we were the smallest. Some of us would be proud of our colors; others, of our stripes or spots. Some of us would be loved because we were smooth.
Some of us would have valued qualities that were not so obvious. We would have to be held up to the light to be appreciated.
But each of Skippy’s pebbles was loved the same. It reminded me of an argument my brother Jim and I had when we were small. Seeking a definitive solution, we went to the source, storming downstairs in our pajamas and confronting our parents.
“OK, who do you love best?” we demanded (while simultaneously trying to look our most adorable).
“We love you both the same,” dad answered. It seemed like a cop-out and our faces must’ve shown it, because mom added, “But for different reasons.”
I’m going to try to remember that next time I’m in a situation where I don’t feel valued. Maybe, in that particular situation, I’m a pebble that needs to be held up to the light — not flashy, but loved just the same.