Ike, our fifth child, came along during a very difficult time in our lives. Tina had battled a round of cancer and won but we were still grieving over it. On top of this, it was also one of our most financially trying times we experienced. We decided not to have any more children after this traumatic event.
A few months later, when I found out I was pregnant, I knew this baby was a gift of joy to our family. He help lift us out of that dark time. Ike was always happy and funny. He made us laugh. At church all the kids wanted to sit next to him and all the adults in our small congregation just thought he was the cutest thing. It wasn’t uncommon for adults to say, “You’re so cute, I could just take you home with me.” After hearing this enough times Ike took it seriously. The next time someone made this comment, Ike ran to me and told me he was going home with Erica, who was standing just a few feet away. I knelt down and tried to explain, the best you can to a two-and-a-half-year-old, that she and others really didn’t mean ‘for real’ they would take him home but he argued she did mean it. In moments he melted into tears. Even though many others made this promise, this time Ike wasn’t going to let it slide. Erica felt horrible. She apologized and promised to take him on another day. Unhappy and still crying, Ike came home that day with us. A few weeks later Erica made good on her promise. Ike waited with anticipation for her to arrive. She shared later when they returned how he had the day planned out. “Ike where should we go?” “You’re going to take me to get a hamburger,” he confidently announced. She was gracious enough to comply. After this he director her to take him to the park to play. He shared a couple more specific expectations, which she did, before bringing him home. He came home happy and content at having his promises fulfilled, even if there was a little more to them than Erica expected. The smile on his face made it all worth it. After this, I began asking the adults not to say they wanted to take him. Who knows, he might have expected them buy him toys and drive him a thousand miles to Disneyland. Better to not make a promise, then to make one and break it.