My son’s best friend is the guy who passes out free newspapers by our subway station. My son is 15 months old, very blonde, with big blue eyes. The gentleman who hands out papers to commuters is a 40 year old black man. They are not the pair you would expect and yet when they see one another, each lights up. My son stretches out his hand, and his friend says “My man!” My son then tries out some new baby words and they have a “conversation.” As we walk down the stairs to the subway, my son waves and waves and behind me I hear “That’s my best buddy! See you tomorrow little man!”
This morning, while passing out papers and happily greeting people as he does us every day – my son’s best friend told me that he was “moved” to Queens last night. At first I thought he meant he was handing out papers in Queens, which I thought was strange. But as he continued I realized that he is homeless and the housing authority had randomly moved him to a different shelter last night – making his own commute three times what it normally is.
I was suddenly jolted back to reality. Earlier this morning, I was complaining that my husband was dressing the kids too slowly, wondering if I could maybe take my ClassPass off hold and trying to decide what to do for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. The night before, my mom had purchased some gifts for J’s class and we were going to have cupcakes but my mom bought one gift bag too few and we were trying to figure out how to make it all work. Meanwhile this man, who puts a smile on my son’s face every day, was trying to figure out where he would be sleeping.
Doughnuts and yoga and all that other stuff is fun. But I need to remember to recognize it as more than that. It is a privilege few people are afforded – choosing to spend my time and money on artisanal doughnuts and boutique fitness classes. Trying to decide if I want to stick with my current job or go somewhere new. Will we celebrate my daughter’s birthday over Mexican food or Chinese.
I am sitting in a warm office, telling people my random thoughts via the internet. It’s a pretty sweet life – and I need to be thankful every day.