When I became a mother, one thing I did not expect was all the lessons my son would teach me. I spend my days teaching Brandon about many different facets of life: don't play in the street, be grateful, say yes ma'am and yes sir, don't put anything up your nose. With all the lessons I have taught him, Brandon has also taught me some important life lessons: having a zest for life, noticing simple joys, and how to identify an articulated tractor (actually, his tractor movies taught me that one).
Friday, on my birthday adventure, we found ourselves on a bus in Baltimore, and I found myself learning another life lesson from Brandon.
As we rode, Shad had to stand at the front of the bus to hold our folded stroller. The only seats near Shad were handicap seats, so the boys and I sat towards the back of the bus.
Shortly after we sat down, two men boarded the bus. I wish could tell you that I did not prejudge these men, but as soon as I saw them, I labeled them. I stared through my sunglasses as the men staggered up the aisle. These men were very drunk.
My mother's instinct screamed inside my head, "Please don't sit beside us. Pleas don't sit beside us. Please don't sit beside us." Of course, they sat down right beside Fortunately, they immediately went to sleep.
Still protective of my boys, I thought, "Please just go to sleep and don't talk to us."
However, they soon woke up and noticed Collin who was jumping in my lap. One of the men looked at Brandon and said, "Make sure you take care of your brother. I take care of my brother." Part of me wanted to tell Brandon not to reply, but Brandon, in classic Brandon style, stood up, flexed his muscles, and said, "Yeah, I can take him." (He completely missed the meaning of "take care")
At that moment, the other man woke up, and they both broke out into laughter at Brandon and his flexed muscles. At that moment, I actually looked at the men's faces and realized they were brothers too. When they stopped laughing, the first man said, "My name is Mike, and I'm an older brother just like you." The other man slurred his words,"I'm Mike...no...I'm Danny." (To be honest, I kind of giggled on the inside at Mike...Danny's slip up.)
We talked for about ten minutes. Mike shared that he had 12 kids and 42 grandkids. Brandon with his ticking time bomb mouth shared with them, "When my mommy went to the hospital, Collin came out all by himself...ALL BY HIMSELF!" Even in his state of mind, Mike looked at me and said, "Did he just say his brother came out all by himself?" I rolled my eyes and nodded yes, and the men broke into laughter, again.
As they got off the bus, they waved at us, and told us to have a good day. After they left, I realized although I gave the men many labels just based on their appearance, I missed seeing one important label...a kind heart. It was apparent that these men, despite their rough exteriors and lot in life were genuinely nice men, and I guess Brandon could see that all along.