I could have said yes.
I could have said, I will take this glossy eight-page brochure filled with artsy wrapping paper, cutesie pizza kits, and hardened sausage that no one I know actually eats, and peddle it office to office, client to client, colleague to colleague to convince unsuspecting people that paying $12 for $3 gift wrap is a charitable cause.
But, I like to think that somewhere between Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and just after ‘maybe your dad and I will get back together,’ I stopped lying to my children.
Yesterday, my son brought home a glossy brochure and dreams of winning $500 for selling whatever the glossy brochure wanted him to sell. I don’t remember ever believing that pizza, candles, wrapping paper, oranges, candy, or gigantic sausage and cheese would be my claim to riches, a new bike, or an IPOD (ok, a Walkman). I vaguely remember asking my mother to sell things at her work, but that may not be my memory.
Still, I recognize the feverish look in his eyes as he talks of amassing a large enough fortune to purchase video games, Tech Decks, and to pay me back the amount I will have to spend on candles, plastic goods, wrapping paper and pizza kits when the people I sell to decide to exercise the laws of reciprocity.
My son is a lot like me, he doesn’t know it yet—and sometimes I forget.
I forget what it’s like to believe the only difference between what you want and what you have is yes.
But, I remember what it’s like to want something. To believe in something. To follow something.
And so, tonight as I drive him home from school, I will listen to my son tell me what he is selling and why. I will again remind him to ask his father to take the brochures and attempt to sell items they do not need to people he works with. I will encourage him to solicit neighbors, family and friends.
While I will not be indulging in the code of ‘I bought from your child, you buy from mine,’ I may just buy a roll of wrapping paper, a crate of oranges, a kit of “home-made” pizza, raspberry-scented candle, a slice of my son’s dreams.