Today Young Jedi had a Thanksgiving performance. I had signed up to chaperone Sporty’s field trip back in August so I was going to miss it but luckily Poppa Bear is on shut down this week so he was able to attend. I signed up for cookies for the little feast that was following the performance, mostly because I figured that was something Poppa Bear could handle bringing to class. Last night Poppa Bear was at softball practice with Sporty. Young Jedi and I got back from walking the dog. He noticed some cookies on the counter and asked what they were for. I told him they were for his class after their performance. He didn’t say much about them other than how delicious they looked (um, yeah cause they were coated in frosting and rainbow sprinkles!). He ran upstairs to shower and came down a little while later to ask if he could pick a prize from the prize bin. I was about to tell him no because while he had a decent day, it wasn’t spectacular. Then he went on to explain that a little girl in class can’t have cookies because she has diabetes. He wanted to give her a little something while everybody else was eating their cookie so she wouldn’t be sad.

My heart just about burst into a million pieces. Young Jedi has worried about this little girl before but I was just blown away by his thoughtfulness, his ability to empathize with how she would feel watching her classmates eat these sugar bombs knowing she couldn’t join them, the exclusion that she would feel. I was so proud of him so of course he was able to pick out a little prize for her.

I wish the world could see this side of Young Jedi and not the loud, gruff, impulsive and belligerent boy his anxiety makes him. I wish the world could really, really see Young Jedi’s true identity, deep down core of his soul – the kind, thoughtful, energetic, empathetic, passionate boy that he is. Mental illness is real and it’s nasty and it has such a stigma associated with it. But behind Young Jedi’s anxiety is a boy who feels everything and cares deeply, even if his anxiety makes it appear he doesn’t care or feel, the truth is, he feels more than anyone else!

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