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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Helper: The Tale of Henry Lent

Recently my new friend Mindy from Greeting Card Universe emailed to let me know their company not only makes hospice cards; they also make non-traditional Mother’s Day cards.  They make Mother’s Day cards for single Dad’s.  Which made think about of another non-traditional role: that of the Mother’s helper and the respect we should show them on this day.

When my son Freddie entered kindergarten at Murch Elementary nine years ago he made a very special friend named Henry.  This quiet calm child was the opposite of rambunctious Freddie but they really enjoyed playing together.  Kindergarten was a hard year for Freddie but Henry was definitely the bright spot.  So at the end of the year when the other parents were requesting particular teachers for 1st grade, we requested Freddie be placed in the same class as Henry.

Throughout third grade Henry and Freddie were great friends, then Freddie went to a special needs school and Henry continued on at Murch.  We did not see him often.   Then the spring of Freddie’s 4th grade year became a time of sadness, as Freddie’s Daddy (Fred) grew very ill.  Many neighborhood families would take in Freddie and sometimes Isaac as well.  Several times Henry and his father Tom would play with Freddie and little three-year-old Isaac while Mommy was at the hospital with Daddy.

Then Daddy died. 

There was a great hole in our life where his love once stood.  Freddie and Isaac were so lonely for their father.  That summer I would set up so many play dates for the boys.  I noticed something very special would happen when Henry came over to play.  Isaac filled with joy and Henry who had been Freddie’s friend was now a wonderful mentor for Isaac.

I proposed a deal with Henry.  He could come over one day each week for an hour and a half a play with Isaac as a type of mother’s helper.  He agreed to my proposal and came once every week for his entire 5th grade year.

Many children start with the best of intentions when they begin such a task and slowly stop visiting their little friends as life becomes busy and the teenage years approach, but Henry did not fail to visit as the years went by.  All throughout the past 4 years Henry has dutifully came over to play with Isaac and Isaac has looked forward to each visit with unbridled joy.  Isaac looks upon our move this summer to western Maryland with great anticipation and sorrow.  He will miss his Henry.

Last week I was in California presenting a speech on a special day for Isaac.  He would be performing on stage at his elementary school with his entire class singing a song in French.  This was his first school performance and there would be no proud parent to cheer him on. 

I asked Henry, “Will you go to Isaac’s performance in my stead.”  Henry said yes.  He filmed Isaac’s short song and he praised Isaac’s performance.  Isaac beamed.

So this Mother’s Day I would like to thank those wonderful young boys and young girls who are known as Mother’s helpers.   Thank you so much.

And thank you Henry.  Someday you are going to make a great Dad.

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