Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tales from the Bookstore: Proud Parent

I volunteer every Saturday at a used bookstore whose proceeds benefit the local library system. This has got to be one of my all-time favorite volunteer gigs. I love books. I love talking about books. The other volunteers are great, and I like talking to the customers, especially the "regulars" who come back every few weeks; sometimes every week.

Today I was talking to a lady at the counter who bragged that her son was in one of the books she was purchasing (it was a locally-made book). I expressed interest, so she opened the book to the page he was on. "Here's his picture," she said. "He's not credited, but he's so excited to have his picture in a book."

The picture was of a disheveled-looking man (likely homeless), rummaging through a dumpster. "It says he's a homeless man on Oahu, but that's not accurate. This picture is obviously taken at Iao," she said. I was a bit taken-aback, I have to admit. I don't think I've ever heard anyone brag about their homeless child before. "Is he all right?" I asked. "Oh yes," she replied. "He's autistic, but he started his own business collecting cans for money."

She beamed with so much pride. And I was incredibly touched.

It made me think of all the children in the world - both those that are still children and those that are all grown up - who have worked so hard in their lives to make their parents proud, only to be disappointed because their achievements are never enough. Some parents just aren't proud of anything their kids do, unless it's exactly what they wanted them to do. It's very sad.

But here was this woman, so proud of her son, no matter how small his achievements have been. As the child of a father who couldn't give a flip about her achievements one way or the other, it touched me down to my soul.

I wish that more parents were this accepting of their children, and vice versa.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

"he started his own business collecting cans for money"--Classic. That is one "glass half full" lady.