Tri-City Ledger -

By Stephanie Cunningham
Ledger Staff 

Oh! For the love of a talker


May 28, 2020

I want to start by saying that I love my son, but Lord, is he a talker. He is a normal rambunctious 6-year old, but I dare say he might have a better grasp on the English language than some auctioneers. Now when I say that this boy likes to talk, you’re just going to have to trust me that I have literally walked by his room in the evenings when he should be asleep and heard him talking; not playing with his toys. Nope. Just happy to chatter away in the dark listening to the sound of his own voice.

And to add fuel to the fire, he likes to talk to me; specifically, me. I know this because we have spent the last few months in quarantine together. We have also been locked down with my daughter, but she will decide that she’s had enough and will simply withdraw to the quiet solitude of her room leaving me alone with our little chatterbox. Seriously, ya’ll don’t just take my word for it, I can think of a few of Colin’s former teachers that I dare say would back me up on this child. (Ms. April, Ms. Pat, Mrs. Qualls, if people ask, it's because I just named you.) I just can’t stress this enough, this boy likes to talk. 

Now this has always been a good and a bad thing for our little family. Being in the community news industry we are fortunate to be out about and involved with the local area and attended a lot of events where we've met uncountable new friends. Colin has never shied away for a moment from greeting a stranger as if he were simply seeing an old friend. During this COVID-19 business throwing all of our lives off-track, Colin has had the pleasure of becoming the youngest staff member at the Tri-City Ledger. He made us setup his own desk at the office and will proudly shout out “Hi!” to anyone that walks into the door. He’s our Ledger Greeter, if you will. 

So my point with all this is to say that I have encouraged him to be bold. To greet people sweetly and with a smile. I’ve explained that you never know what people are going through and sometimes a simple smile and a “Hi, how are you?” can go along way. So I am very, very proud of him despite the fact that my soul sometimes longs for an hour of solitude and silence. (Seriously, I have used ‘Mama’s bath time means don’t talk to me through the door!’, more times than I can count…mainly because he ignores it and continues to talk to me.) 

Now for the tale of this past weekend. Finally with the relaxation of restrictions on traveling, the kids and I set-off on an adventure to Columbus, Ohio. Ya’ll, I ordered masks. Not only because they are recommended for safety and precautions, but there was a part of me that secretly hoped that it might quell my little master of linguistic arts. Never fear, the mask did not work. We flew- I must confess, the 2-hour flight seemed much more enticing than envisioning a 12-hour car drive trapped while my daughter simply put on her head phones to tune him out leaving me alone once more with the chatterbox.

It was to be both Sawyer and Colin’s first flight so I was careful to record and document every moment. Their expressions, their excitement, their awe as they felt the wheels go airborne. I caught it all.

It was only after reviewing the footage of the trip that I realized that my dear sweet son talked the entire flight and was also abnormally loud- I’m pretty sure at one point he was talking to a girl three rows in front of us. 

One of the points for our trip was to reward Colin for all his hard work at completing his kindergarten year while working from home. So we went to Lego Land and let him pick out whatever Lego set (within reason, come on, I work for a newspaper) he wanted. 

He strolled all over the store and painstakingly examined all the different choices. Finally, he landed on a Spiderman set. It was perfect he said and then launched into an extremely long and detailed exposé on why it was perfect. Yes, I’m guilty of tuning most of it out, but I still got the gist. 

Well, it was time to pay. Now maybe I am reviewing this whole scenario through the eyes that have been on lockdown for too long, but to me, a beautiful moment emerged in that simple exchange of money for goods. 

As Colin handed over his Spiderman toy to the young masked man behind the plexiglass glass-guarded counter, the salesman, smiled (I assume, again, masked) and said “Well, do you like Spiderman?” 

My brain instantly panicked and thought, “Good Lawd, man, don’t get him started!” 

Colin emphatically nodded and said “Yes Sir, I do!”

The young man, again smiled and said “Wow! It's nice to hear such a young man with manners!”

Colin looked him dead in the eye and said “Yes, Sir.” 

The young man reached over and plucked a small Thanos Lego figurine from his badge and said, “Well, that deserves this. Take this bad guy for Spiderman to have someone to fight.” He then put it in Colin’s bag and handed the bag to Colin.

My heart swelled to bursting as I watched my son’s still tiny hand wrap around the handles of the shopping bag, and he again looked up at the young salesman, “Yes Sir. Thank you!”

I could not be more proud of that moment and of the sweet little outgoing young man that isn’t shy about speaking his mind nor raising his voice to anyone. 

There is a quote out there that says, “I want to raise my children to change the world, I just have to survive raising them first.” So I am trying, folks, I am trying to raise brave little souls that will go out and make this dark world a better place. I just need to survive the chatter first. But for moments like that sweet exchange at the Lego check out counter in Columbus, I think I’ll be just fine. 


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