We packed up our Subaru on Thanksgiving morning and headed to Arizona to spend a few days with my parents. On our way out of town, we pulled over for a caravan of emergency vehicles that were on their way to some sort of tragedy or another. I said to Jacob, "Let's pray for whoever needs help," since that's our tradition when we see a fire truck, ambulance or police cruiser with lights and sirens ablaze.
Breakfast bellies calling us, we whipped into a McD's to carb- and fat-load for our mini trip. As we pulled out, headed towards the freeway, there stood a man on the curb with a bent and curling sign asking for food. I don't always stop ... if you've driven through San Diego you know that nearly every major intersection is filled with the hungry and homeless. But I pulled over, rolled the window down, and handed him a 5. I asked Jacob if he wondered why I did it this time, when I hadn't the day before. He said, "No, Mom. I know that we have so much to be thankful for. What if he doesn't? And even if some people that ask for money don't really need it that much, or they'll use it on something that they shouldn't, that's not our place to judge."
Three hours later, we were unpacking our 'Ru in AZ, and getting in Mom's way as she put the finishing touches on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner -- no small feat when accomplished in an RV. We spent the next few couple of days basking in the glow of family. Swimming, bike-riding and shopping were the most pressing agenda items. In the midst of our store-hopping, we were stopped by a major traffic accident at an intersection. Numerous ambulances, fire trucks and police were racing to the scene, and as we inched by on the shoulder, we could see that the emergency workers were trying to free passengers from a vehicle. I was more worried about getting by than anything else, but Jacob said, "Shouldn't we pray?" I told him yes, and that he should lead it.
"Dear God, please take care of whoever was hurt. And if they've already died, may they rest in
peace and know that they are with God. Take care of their families. Please help them to heal."
I had a hard time making my "Amen" audible over the tears I was choking back.
Today is Jacob's tenth birthday. I spent much of yesterday teasing him with "this is the LAST swim you'll have as a 9-year-old" ... and "that's the last hot dog you'll eat as a single-digit-aged kid" and .... well, you get the picture.
As Joel and I watched him rip into presents, feast on cake and generally act like a 10-year-old, we know one thing... we couldn't be prouder of the double-digit-dude he's become.