When Joe is visiting he hears me getting coffee ready before Tom is up. It’s early. Sometimes I don’t hear him come downstairs. I jump when he suddenly appears in the kitchen. He gets a kick out of it.
Over Christmas when he was here I asked him if he wanted to see sunrise with me and Poppy. We were in the middle of a string of warm days. Sunrise was around 7:20.
When we got to the beach he couldn’t wait to get out of the car and see the beach this early in the morning. This is a photograph of Joe with his metal detector. He was hopeful he would find a treasure. He didn’t find any with the metal detector. Someday perhaps he will remember this morning with us and know some treasures can’t be seen but only felt.
It was magical. There were maybe two or three others scattered on the beach. He wasn’t overly impressed when the sun cracked the horizon. It was a huge uninhabited play area for him. He did all the things kids should do on the beach, find shells, dig holes, write his name really big in the sand, run, run and run some more.
Joe is eight years old with an enormous heart. Children are not often seen for their caregiving roles outside their homes and sometimes inside their homes. They are Hidden Helpers like Joe. I see them. I hope you do as well and that you give them extra everything from your heart. We can never over love our hidden helper children.
I was helping Tom, I had his arm through mine, get through the sand. There were two steps up onto the boardwalk he still had to traverse, as well as the long walkway to the car. As we got to the steps Joe came up alongside Tom, took his arm, and said “I got him, Granny”. That’s the last time Tom would be able to safely walk to and from the car to the beach. There is no photo of this moment. It’s inscribed in my heart, where it belongs, forever. I hope it is in Joe’s too.