Joe, Miles’ 4-H leader, mentor, and friend, saw him paused and pensive and queried about his well being. When I saw Miles eyes brim with tears I joined the conversation, chatting with Joe and hoping to buy Miles time to recompose. As the three of us stood there in the nearly 100 degree heat, dripping sweat and tears, Tucker and his mother approached.
Tucker is a Weber County Fair icon. Beloved by everyone, he symbolizes all the character traits 4-H and FFA are meant to develop. Tucker is special needs. He does not talk much, moves erratically and sometimes spastically and is easily distracted. He is also unreservedly friendly, absolutely without guile and smiling constantly. For four years he has shown a hog at the fair, with extensive help from his mother.
His mother is truly a saint. Truly. She and Tucker come to everything--service projects, club meetings, animal weigh-ins--and, thanks to the mom, they participate fully. At the fair (and the other events) she must constantly monitor him, guiding him in the direction he should go and keeping him on task. Though Tucker is almost as big as she is, I frequently see her carrying him on her hip. Her physical burden must be huge. And her emotional task even bigger. I cannot even fathom the time and energy she invests in Tucker.
So, there we were, standing outside the auction ring, Miles visibly upset. Tucker and his angel mother approached. She had a couple frozen Otter Pops in her hand Gently she put one in Tucker’s hand and wordlessly coached him to give it to Miles. It took a couple attempts but eventually the message was conveyed. Tucker’s eyes lit up, he took the frozen treat and handed it to Miles with a big grin...and then trotted happily away.
That’s when I lost it. Here was this mom who has her hands more than full trying to manage her special needs child….and she has the time and energy to notice my son’s special needs. Not only did she notice my son’s sorrow and react compassionately, she also taught her son to do the same. Tears filled my eyes. I was touched by her tenderness and humbled to be in the presence of true greatness.
Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jamie, Tucker’s mother (I just recently learned her name), is truly great. May we follow her example….and His.
NOTE: This links to an article about Tucker, published in the local paper the first year he showed at the fair.