Little Boy #1: Charleston's Old Slave Mart Museum is a hard place to visit. The story of humans being bought and sold is tough to take in, especially when told through the narratives of former slaves. But what reduced me to tears was one picture. A little boy, 3 maybe 4 years old, staring out at me. Confused? Brave? Scared to pieces as only a little child can be? This child was sold. Was he separated from his mama, his daddy? A doting big sister? A baby brother? A loving grandmother? He was just a little boy. One little boy. Sold. Lord, have mercy.
Little Boy #2: A little boy, fleeing with his family from the horrors of Syria, face down on a beach in Turkey. He was just a little boy. One little boy.
Little Boy #3: Grandson and I spent last night putting together a Luke Skywalker costume to wear to this morning's DragonCon parade. Today, we lined the parade route with thousands of others, watching fantasy/science fiction characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, and anything else wild and crazy that entertains us. Liam did battle with Klingons, knights, and a host of others, all in good fun, thanks to his trusty toy light sabre. He had the time of his life. One little boy.
Liam may face many tough battles in his life, but I pray those battles never involve disease or danger. But at 5 years old, he hasn't faced the trials of little boys 1 and 2, thanks to where, when, and to whom he was born. Pure damn luck.
To be clear, Liam has nothing to feel guilty about for the luck of the draw. This is not about guilt. None of the three little boys had control over their birth situations. None of us had any control over ours, either. But I do pray that those of us who won the birth-lottery will make the lives of all little boys and girls safer, healthier, and more joyous so that the scariest thing they ever face is pretend light sabre battles with make-believe characters. Please, God.