It was Christmas Eve. Our first Christmas without his Dad. Our son was two years old. His Dad left us. Here we were. The two of us. Alone together. My son always loved the color red. Still does to this day. It is his favorite. Whenever he saw a little red wagon breeze by with a boatload of kids and fun…he would point and say “Wag!” I had to get him one. They were Radio Flyers. They were the Best Little Red Wagons, this side of the Mississippi! They were Expensive In my eyes. I had been dealing with a whole new life of expensive those last 8 months. I always loved those Radio Flyers myself. His eyes would glint with surprise every time one passed us by. They were always the gateway to freedom somehow.
I managed to go to our local specialty store and buy what looked like the perfect model. It never crossed my mind that it would be in the big box, totally in pieces and I would have to put it together all by myself! Welcome to Single Mother hood and being many a time the handy man, as well as wonder woman! I did not have a clue. I had tools. I have always collected tools.But all these dis assorted pieces cascading out of the box, I had never even seen the likes of, nevermind knowing what tool to use where! Out came the wheels, and the sockets, and the screws and the terrible directions. I tried for hours. It was Christmas Eve.
It was hard enough hiding my secret in the box, from my son. Running frantically into the den, I would try one more quick time to make sense of the madness, before he toddled in looking for me. I would once again…fail miserably. I put him to bed. I started to cry. I went across the street to the older couple who adored my son. I asked if they could help. It was Christmas Eve…and it was late. Santa would be careening down the chimney any minute now with his tribe of reindeer.
Our retired gentleman friend came over, and we worked together like Dr. and Nurse. Front wheels, check. Ratchet. Check. Screwdriver Check. It actually took us a good hour and a half but then there it was! Glistening in the moonlite! The coolest,slickest Radio flyer Wagon I had ever seen. I started to cry once again, while I was hugging my new hero for helping me create the best Christmas present ever!
I was so grateful that my son would have something he would cherish amidst such confusing sadness in his little life. We didn’t go anywhere for the next two years without the whole neighborhood clamoring aboard the little Radio Flyer . It truely was, and always will be, in my treasured memories…our new navigation system of fun that lead us to where we are today. Happy. Strong. Joyeous. And Free.