Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SkinnyBoy: You Is Kind, You is smart. You is important.


Feeling blue. SkinnyBoy has moved to Florida. As in our chances of crossing paths again are as slim as he is.

He used to be our neighbor, lived four houses away. He spent as much time at our house as he was allowed, which was pretty much 24/7 in the summers, and during the school year, he'd show up for our carpool almost an hour early to “hang out, I was ready for school.” I fed him breakfast. Made sure he had lunch money or packed him a lunch. His Dad had lost his job even before the Great Recession hit. I know things were tough at his house for a multitude of reasons, so we did what we could to help, though direct help was completely refused. Out of respect for him, let's just leave all that there.

After I dropped him at his house on school days, with his over-stuffed back-pack and french horn, he'd shut the door with a, “See you in a minute!” and would be back at our house almost before I could turn the car around and hit our driveway. He stayed for dinner a lot. Eventually of course he had to go home to do his homework, but so did my boys. Worked out great. Just for reference, my boys are 2 ½ years apart, he's right between them age-wise. He and I share a birthday. With Obama. And Best :-)

I love this boy. A boy of integrity, great work ethic, always cleaned up his dishes and offered to do chores. We pay for chores around here, don't believe in “allowance”. There are of course some “because you live here” chores which don't pay (dishes, laundry, trash, recycling, vacuuming, sweeping) but others do. He did a lot of those. Loving video games as much as my boys, he did those to make any spending “frivolously” possible, I'm sure.

Two years ago they lost their house and moved across town to a rental duplex. That didn't stop our boys who have bikes, he'd just ride over here and knock, just as if he'd run down the hill. Friendship continued almost interrupted.

A month ago he began preparing us all. “My Dad is maybe getting a job in Florida.” Wow. Job great. Florida not so much. Dad got job. He came over to say goodbye while I was in Texas. I didn't get to give that skinny little body one more hug. I didn't get to tell him, one more time, my version of this quote from The Help as Aibileen did Mae Mobley, “You is kind, you is smart. You is important.”

I asked him once why he liked being over here so much. “You're always happy to see me, I know you love me, and it feels really nice to be here.” Hold on to that thought dear boy as your life is about to change. May you find another family that makes you feel that way. Good bye, SkinnyBoy. Good bye.

21 comments:

Brian Miller said...

glad his dad got a job but sad for your loss...having someone around that much makes them pretty much family...and its hard...

deathwriter said...

Aww, I just got all weepy reading that. You made a difference in that young man's life and he will go out in the world and do the same for someone else some day:)

Andrea said...

I hope he stays in touch!

JoJo said...

What a sweet tribute! But at least we live in the internet age. Having a childhood friend move away isn't so traumatic like it used to be when I was growing up in the 70s and kids moved away.

JJ said...

Life in Florida can be very good. It is the one place I thought I would never live, but now...

Wish him well and be happy for him.

Zebsmom said...

Tina, this post made me cry. There are not enough people like you in the world. Some try to be what you were to that boy, but they can't seem to do it without resentment. I was similar to that boy, living more of my life at my friends house than my own when I was young, but there came a time when my friends mom said (not knowing I was within ear shot) "why is she always here, doesn't she have a home of her own" it broke my heart.

You are truly one of a kind!!

taylorsoutback said...

Just found you by way of Miss Jenny's - saw the memorable quote from The Help and just had to see what was going on...your story will continue I am betting - this young man will return to your front door - some day, some how - because you have given him shelter when he most needed it.

mare ball said...

So sweet. I know you will miss this boy, but you have given him so much to take with him. We had extra kids hanging around our house too, when my kids were young/teens, and there are so many that just need to be loved and accepted. And I'm with JJ...I'm in FL and there are many benefits to living here. :-) I'm glad his dad found work.

That corgi :) said...

First time visiting/commenting on your blog; so glad I did. What a sweet entry. I do hope he/family do well in Florida. Having been the house that welcomed and fed those that needed to be welcomes and fed, this really touched my heart to read the impact you had on his life and in turn, the impact he had on your life.

betty

Jeremy Bates said...

One good thing is that his dad obtained a job. In this economy people are just giving up or don't desire to work for a lower wage. That's sad.

As for Skinny Boy, I hope he continues to do well. One must know the temptations of Florida are strong. Thankfully, it sounds as if he has his head on straight, which is a good thing.

By the way, there's always Skype! I am betting he is missing all of you guys.

Murees Dupé said...

You are just a fantastic person. Not many people would have done what you did. I hope all goes well in Florida though. I loved the help and the quote is great too.

Denise Mitchell said...

What a great post and it made me cry too.

He sounds as though he's a 'balanced' young man and that, I'm sure, is partly down to your positive influence. I hope he and his family do well in their new life but I'm sorry you didn't get to say goodbye properly.

I love that quote from 'The Help'.

Juli said...

What wonderful adventures he will have in Florida! And how great it is that he has found such a strong basis to go there with.

All other neighbors will be compared to you guys, and with the bar set high, he will undoubtedly settle for nothing less. :)

Wendy H said...

I was very touched by your post. He was lucky to have met you and your family. I wish more children in similar situations had that support you gave him. I am sure he will never forget you,and like it was said, with modern technology maybe you can keep in touch.

upinthecosmos said...

Sounds like a great kid, know that you will always have a place in his heart and have greatly impacted his life... as he did/does yours:-)

Jo said...

Trouble is that unless dad's new job was a really good one, they may not be able to afford the technology to keep in touch.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh how sad to see him go. It sounds like he needed you as much as you enjoyed him. Hopefully Florida will be good to his family.

running4him said...

Now I am about to cry...

J. Kwiatkowski-Schuler said...

I hope Florida is good to him, poor kid.

klahanie said...

Hey Tina,
A bitter sweet story and yet your fond memories will live on. Skinny Boy, I'm sure, and his family, will be just be fine.
And to you my friend, who likes to interact, to be a part of a sharing, caring blogging community, I hope all is well with you.
In kindness, Gary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. one post I didn't make - soon after Mum died ... but I read it now - and am sure he will remember the rest of his life.

I hope the kids keep in touch .. via letters or email .. or ... or ...

Wonderful - but as Gary says bitter-sweet ...

Now to yesterday's post .. cheers Hilary