It was a game that had seemed funny at first. My son and a neighbor boy were tossing the twins' favorite doll around. Somehow, in the ensuing hilarity–a pair of scissors seemed like a good idea.
And the silly haircut was a riot. But it didn't stop there. A moment later, it wasn't so funny anymore.
That's when the guilt set in. They tried to hide it.
But they couldn't hide their ashamed faces. Especially when Mama got down on hands and knees and peered under the bed.
The whole wretched story came tumbling out. There were tears and wringing of hands. Mama kept her cool (just barely).
The culprits were marched downstairs. The neighbor boy was sent home. And the trembling son wept into his hands.
Mama washed dishes until she felt herself cool down. Best not to talk in the heat of battle. Those dishes never sparkled so well.
"Mommy…are you…are you disappointed with me?" he asks, tugging at my shirt.
I wipe my hands on the towel and kneel in front of him.
"I'm disappointed that you didn't make the right choice," I say. "That's your baby sisters' favorite doll."
He hangs his head. Utter remorse. "I know," he sobs. "I'm so sorry."
"Why did you do it?" I ask, as calmly and quietly as I can.
He shrugs. "I don't know! I knew it was wrong! I don't know why I did it!"
I draw him to me and hug him close. He whispers the rest of the story in my ear and that's when I discover why he did it. He didn't want to make his beloved friend mad by saying no. I nod. I understand this.
It's a lesson I had to learn early, too: the courage to do the right thing even when it's not popular.
We exchange some quiet words. Apologies are spoken and amends are made.
And then we try to explain it to the twins.
"Baby is broken," I say. "Baby has owies."
Jasiel stares for a moment and then reaches for baby, holds her tight. "Ohhhhh, baby! Ohhhh, bwoken baby!"
Bwoken Baby gets long walks in the stroller all bundled up in blankies because: "She's code! She's code!"
Bwoken Baby gets rocked in Mama's rocking chair. Bwoken Baby listens to Jasiel "read" Cat Inna Hat.
Every time I watch Jasiel coo and fuss over that hopelessly mangled baby doll, I feel a strange sort of heart ache.
My 2 year old is just learning to speak. Yet somehow, she teaches us what unconditional love looks like.
And in that love, my son understands he is forgiven.