Three Not Five

three not five image

My three-year-old adores his great grandpa Deon. He loves to cuddle to him and watch movies together. He loves to help him in his garden. He loves to sit on his countertop and drink orange juice with him.

He has spent many, many times giggling with my grandpa. They have enjoyed some good times together.

Yet this week, for the first time in his life, my son noticed that his Papa Deon was different than him. That he only has three fingers on each hand – not five.

I watched in awe as the discovery played out. My beautiful little boy rubbed his soft chubby hands over his great grandpa’s rough palms while studying each detail of those unique hands.

Hands that lived though a horrendous explosive accident while my grandpa was in high school.

My grandpa and his friend were playing with dynamite one Sunday afternoon. They would light a stick, shove it in a bottle, screw the lid on then toss it into a nearby pond. My grandpa’s friend couldn’t get his bottle lid on so he handed the bottle – with it’s lit dynamite stick – to my grandpa. It exploded in his hands.

I can’t imagine what my grandpa lived through. Along with four of his fingers, he also lost sight in one of his eyes.

He was forced to learn how to live a new way. And that’s exactly what he did. He learned how to do everything all over again, despite his injury.

Which is why it doesn’t surprise me that it took more than three years for my son to realize his papa was different.

It melted my heart to watch my little boy look at his papa with love and intrigue as he turned over each hand for inspection. He didn’t run away scared or disgusted. He didn’t whisper behind his back and point a finger at the difference. He faced it head on with respect and curiosity.

Then he giggled as he realized, “You have three fingers (on each hand) and I’m three. That’s like me.”

Instead of pointing out how they were different, he relished how they were the same. Then he held his hand up proudly as he gave my grandpa a high “three.”

I’m going to try to remember this discovery as I embark on a new year. Instead of being scared and pointing out how others are different, I’m going to reach out with respect and curiosity.

I’m going to try to relish how we are the same – inside and out.

Better yet, I hope I can live without needing to even notice the differences. Like my son lived for three years before ever noticing my grandpa’s injured hands.

Here’s to embracing others for who they are; injured hands an all. Here’s to hoping others will do the same for me.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Jan 01, 2016 @ 02:11:15

    What a great story. Anyone who knows the man can understand the wisdom of this 3 year old. Deon is so much more than three fingers on each hand. What a blessing to grow up in the neighborhood with the Johnson family.


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