The afternoon we came home from the Brave event in June, Ryan was ecstatic about his coin box and anxious to get started. We talked together about how we would fill it over the summer and then come September we would give the money to the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research in order to help kids with cancer have better medicines. At the end of our conversation he said, “But Ben doesn’t get to have one.” We said, “No, he doesn’t. But maybe you could do one for him.” Ryan responded by saying, “We can share one!” He then proceeded to write both their names on the top of his box. As a mother I felt like my heart might burst open. I thought to myself, “He gets it. And how amazing that he could think of Ben as well – what a sweet sweet boy I have.”
Fast forward to July and Ryan had been fiercely collecting coins. I swear that boy has coin radar going on. He will spot a penny on the deck of the ferry boat, a dime under the seat of the car, or a loose quarter on the workbench in the garage. If there has been a coin in Ryan’s path this summer he has found it! One day he said to me, “Mom, my coin box is getting so heavy! I think it is almost full!” I said, “That is so great Ryan. You are doing such a good job of helping. It will be so fun to give all these coins to the Center in September.” A loooong pause ensued. “But I don’t want to give away my coins – they’re mine!” I told him he could keep the coin box and refill it – wouldn’t that be great? No, it wouldn’t be. Didn’t he want to help the kids who were sick like Ben? No, he didn’t. And what followed was a four-year-old tantrum on the floor about how we were taking his money from him, that it wasn’t very nice to take people’s money and this means we are stealing. Lovely.
At first I could appreciate his passion and the pride he took in his scavenging efforts. But after a few minutes of crocodile self-centered tears I had had enough. I wanted to say, “Do you know how lucky you are? Do you know that Ben never got to camping, or swimming, or taste all the fun treats you have had this summer because he was so sick? Maybe you should go have a time out in his room and ponder how selfish you are being.” HAHA!! Of course I didn’t say that, but you can bet I thought it. Jeff interceded to remind me that Ryan was only four and that he had woken up at 5:30am that morning. Maybe we should drop it and talk about it next month. Good point.
So here we are in August. When I came home the other day, I could over hear Ryan telling our friend Kara all about his coin box and that he was “going to give ALL the coins to the foundation.” I smiled to myself cautiously, because there are still a lot of days between now and September and I feel like this could go down either way. So if you see us carrying our living son into the coin drive in September with tears running down his cute cheeks, you will now know why. Hopefully your summer of family philanthropy is going well.
Speaking of next month, please click here for details on how you can make your Ben Towne Foundation Summer Coin Drive donation!