My little guy offered me a jellybean a little while ago. It was misshapen, long and tapered, nothing like the bean after which it was named. He held it out without comment, gripped it between two long, double-jointed fingers, and below the hood of his coat his eyes smiled out from behind his red-framed glasses. His nose scrunches up when he smiles like that, and I know he’s really happy.
He offered me the jellybean, and I wasn’t sure whether he wanted me to have it, or just wanted me to see it. It was, after all, an anomalous jelly bean, and things like that are interesting. “Cool,” I said, “That one’s shaped funny.”
Thing One smiled even bigger and pushed the bean closer to my face. “I know, it’s not even like a bean. It’s long and pointy. You can have it.”
I gave him the Automatic Mom Response: “No baby, you eat your jelly bean. Thank you, but you don’t have to give me your candy.”
Thing One faltered, let the smile wobble for a second but kept the jellybean there, suspended between us. “You can have it,” he said. “It’s a cool one. I’m giving it to you.”
Thing One has always been taken with food oddities; his siblings give him the longest, curliest curly fries, and we all make sure to point out vegetables shaped like letters or animals or other non-vegetable objects. Often, he will take these things, wrap them in plastic bags and store them in the freezer until sufficient time has passed that the food is coated with ice and no longer recognizable as something that used to be food, and we throw them out with the appropriate amount of respect and ceremony. Not this time, though. This time, he offered it to me.
I ate the jellybean. It was delicious, as far as jellybeans go. And not to get all amateur philosopher on you here, but wouldn’t it be cool if we could all look at things that are a little different from the norm and see the beauty in the variation, rather than relegating them to the bin of discards and damaged goods?
My little guy is like that jellybean: a little different, but totally worth gobbling up. There’s good stuff in that kid of mine. Kind of makes me feel guilty for raiding his stash of Easter candy while he’s asleep…