This story made my day.
Now we all know that our kids’ tendency to accumulate, organize, hoard, and generally become very focused on one kind of thing (trains, rocks, blocks, etc.) can range from endearing to annoying to problematic to a source of creative insight into how their brains work. For them, however, these things can be a source of grounding and comfort in a disorganized and scary world.
This week we got to see this played out at both extremes. Jonathan Reyes lost his prized collection of Hot Wheels in the California wildfires. All of his more than 500 cars were destroyed. (Article on CNN.com)
Let’s pause here and let that sink in. Imagine your child losing not only their home – their safe, familiar place – but also losing that which they have invested so much of their energy and interest and from which they get so much order and peace, and losing every last bit of it. I can’t imagine what that felt like for him and his family.
But kudos to Mattel for sending him an avalanche of new Hot Wheels cars and gear to replace what he lost. Imagine your child losing everything and how awful that would be, and then imagine how much happiness he must have felt to receive all these new cars to replace the old ones. He and his family have still lost so much, but I can begin to imagine that this will give him a place from which to gain a foothold in the midst of the rest of the chaos they must be in right now.
For J-Man right now, it’s his wooden blocks. He stacks them and builds interesting things with them and often carries one in each hand. They ground him. They help him in situations that are stressful. I can imagine a few wooden blocks comforting him in the midst of a lot of chaos going on around him. And that makes me even more happy that Jonathan has all of his new cars.