He is more than…

The conference began with a huge smile from Luke’s teacher. The teacher consultant walked in and sat down. She began with a huge smile on her face, as well.

“Luke is just a neat kid, ” she said.

“He really is. I was so excited when I found out he was going to be my student this year because I had heard what a neat kid he is,” his teacher replied.

Luke is a neat kid. I never really would have thought to use that word, but it fits him. The remainder of his conference was uneventful, just the usual run-through of his vision problems.

As we were leaving, we decided to say hi to another staff member who works with Luke. She had a smile on her face and said she was happy we stopped by––she had a story to tell us. Luke had made her month by helping another student (not a friend) who was having a hard time with another kid at recess. He came up with an idea that he and some others would go together at recess that day and talk to the kid. Luke also suggested that they could all play together after. When I put myself in the mind of an eight-year-old, this is a huge thing. To help someone who is struggling and to play at recess with someone you wouldn’t normally play with shows how amazing my kid is. The last thing she said was what a natural leader Luke is. I know he is, I really do. Yet, sometimes in the midst of all my parenting, I forget and overlook this.

Luke is a good student and I love that he is. He is more than a good student, though. He is a neat kid. The kind that makes teachers excited to have him in their class. He is a natural leader. The type of leader who looks out for others. He is more than my son, as well. He is a friend to many. The kind of friend who is kind and accepting. He is more than I ever imagined my child could be and more than I could ever take credit for. He is Luke, and in this world that is cruel and selfish, it is a great thing to be a “Luke”.

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Beauty

img_7989Once upon a time, there was a monster named Beauty.  The other monsters in town laughed and made fun of her. Because, truly, who has ever met a monster with such a name?  You see, Beauty’s mom held a secret that most monsters do not know, or even care to know.  I’ll tell you this secret in just a minute.

I am certain by now you are wondering the obvious.  What did Beauty look like?  Was she the fairest of all the monsters?  She certainly was not.  She looked like a monster, of course.  Her ears were made of leaves.  Her teeth were gnarly and yellow.  She belched a lot, was by no means graceful, and she always had dirt under her fingernails.  The only thing pretty about her was a blue and white bow she wore on her head.

One day, on her way home from Gross Skills School, Beauty watched two monsters growling at a little human girl.  Beauty felt something inside of her she could not quite understand.  This something was surely something they never taught her at school. It grew the longer she watched and it grew to the point she could no longer remain crouched behind the stinky garbage can.

She stood up and ran over as quick as she could.  The little human girl was trembling.  The monsters were laughing.  Tears streamed down Beauty’s cheeks.  She didn’t know what made her do this, she didn’t even know what it was called.  Her arms wrapped around the little human girl and she gently squeezed.  She whispered, “It’s okay, don’t pay attention to them. I will protect you.”

The other monsters did not know what to make of any of this. They ran off yelling, “We’re telling Mr. Pimple on you.  You’ll for sure get kicked out of Gross Skills School.”

“Thank you, monster.  I never knew monsters could be so kind.  What is your name?” The little human girl asked.

“My name is Beauty.  What is your name?”

“Beauty is a perfect name for you.  My name is Penelope. Maybe we can play someday.”

“Maybe we can,” Beauty said.

The two hugged again and then parted ways.  Beauty went home feeling happy, but also sad and confused.  She went straight to her room and sat on her bed made of stinky socks. She was afraid she’d be in big trouble when her mom found out what had happened. After a while, her mom came in and sat next to her.

“Beauty, what’s wrong?  You never even ate your snack of sour milk and moldy grapes.”

“Mom, something happened today and I’m just so confused.”

Beauty told her mom everything.  Her mom patted Beauty’s head and said, “Well, my dear, that is why I named you Beauty. I knew from the moment our eyes met that you were no ordinary monster. I saw your beauty, I felt your beauty. It was then I realized beauty is about the love you hold inside your heart for others. It is about embracing that love regardless of what everyone else is doing. Don’t ever let the monsters of this world tell you otherwise.”

The End

(This is dedicated to my beautiful niece who drew this picture and asked me to write a story about a monster.)