Rock-man – A Child’s Gift
My father has a very old “rock man” sitting on his dresser. It’s dusty and the varnish on it is weathered and cracked. It consists of two little stones, the bottom painted up to look like the body of a fat little red man and the top stone (glued to it) looks like a head with painted black hair. The whole artistic (and I use that word lightly) statue sits atop a small wooden block with a plaque on the front that reads “Greatest Dad”.
I remember being seven years old in first grade and going down to the gym at school to “Secret Santa Workshop” and finding it sitting among all the other useless junk that was created on the tables. I picked it up and bought it with my $1.50 that I had and took it home, carefully wrapped it and placed it under the tree for my father for Christmas. For years I have never understood why he hung onto that ugly little thing and even contemplated tossing it in the trash a time or two when visiting because it embarrassed me.
Then, this summer I went into his room while visiting and saw that pathetic little thing sitting there among his other fatherly knick-knacks on top of his dresser and I got choked up and a tear came to my eye. I thought back to my desk at work where there sits a macaroni frame with a picture of my oldest child and a little pine cone man with an acorn head.
It occurred to me at that moment that I too would have dusty little figurines of my children’s past that clutter up my dresser or my desk. For the first time, I truly understood why my father held onto that little rock man.
The tear came to my eye, not just for the lost childhood that my father holds on to, but also for the sadness that there are people out there who actually think up little stone men, macaroni picture frames and pine cone men. We may call it the creativity of children, but really, when was the last time you heard a child say “Daddy! We should take some pasta and instead of eating it, wouldn’t it be better to glue to a picture?”
In all seriousness, I treasure these little gifts that my children give me and my walls in my office have many more children’s drawings and photos than they do work-related material. Because the truth is, those children are the sole reason I get up, drag myself to that office every day and go through the daily commuting hell that they call a workday. Their artwork and their pictures are a constant reminder of what makes my life rich, amazing and complete regardless of how much money I make or what possessions I own.
So, to those of you who think up the paper bumblebees, pipe-cleaner people and sticker books, I bow to you. Many desks, dressers, and nightstands around the world would be an empty desolate place without them.