The sun was warm but not too warm and an empty trail was all mine. I had forgotten about this close to me trail that was not littered with people. I crave wide open spaces here were I can smile at every passer by because there is a good ten minutes or more between encounters. The goal was 9 kilometers, this trail went beyond that. It was on of those awesome run days when more then half the kilometers feel good (and not like self inflicted torture).
I had just finished up. Was walking off the rapid breathing and celebrating my one sense of awesome when I noticed two texts.
“Mom r you at home?”
I responded quickly.
“Come home son” (which is meant to read soon)
I ask “What’s up?”
And get back “I’m (insert sad face emoticon, you know the heartbreaking one with the tear escaping from the left eye.”
Then I called to see what was up. My ten year old was sobbing in the background, daddy had found him by then.
Just that morning he had shared with me how he had finally reached his goal of having 55,000 pucks on NHL13 so he could purchase the card of a hockey star he has wanted. A quick explanation of this part of the game. You get to make your own team by purchasing hockey cards, much like the old school ones I used to trade on the playgrounds of my youth. Once you have purchased the card, with pucks you can add the player to your roster and build your team. You however, can not buy pucks, you have to purchase hockey card packs and then sell what you get in the pack to other folks in order to get the pucks to buy the specific players. It’s not easy to save up 55,000 pucks as most cards sell for around 1,000 pucks. No worries is your mind is bent at this point, it won’t break your ability to understand the story.
My son had indeed purchased the player he wanted after humming and hawing about the work he put in to saving up the pucks and how they would all be gone in an instant. He added him to the roster and played his first game. While in this game a fellow player invited him to chat. They were chatting about trading and the game. The other player said to my son, “You know I can duplicate cards. There is a glitch in the game and I found a way to get two copies of the same card.” My son was intrigued, let’s remember he is 10 and the person he was talking to was in his late teens early 20’s. To his credit the first thing my son said was, “you’re not trying to trick me are you?” Oh if only the world was so honest. The other player insisted this was a win win situation where my son would end up with his card returned to him and the bonus of a player he wanted from the other person’s roster. Sure enough the moment my son sent the card to the fellow he was booted from the call never to see his much anticipated saved up for card again.
I wanna throw up just typing all of this out. My boy had been conned on line. Hearing the story I poured my sweaty body in to the car and raced home. I can tell you my thoughts were not pleasant. I wanted to track that bastard down and beat the crap out of him. I also wanted to fix it as quickly as possible for my heart broken son. To get him his card back no matter what the costs was. I was in mama kick ass and then fix mode. When I got home, my son was just devastated. He wasn’t in kick ass mode and he wasn’t in fix mode. He was in I am crushed and embarrassed mode. So we spent the rest of the day very close to one another. He wanted me with him in whatever he was doing.
We talked a lot about what he would do if he ever met this guy. We talked about how hard he had worked. And as time passed he would get lost in a moment and then turn to me and say, “I just remembered I lost my Patrick Kane,” with tears behind his words. It was grief happening and I could feel the crushing waves as they beat upon him throughout his process.
The thing about raising these boys surrounded by tools that weren’t around in my youth is the learning curve is just as steep (okay maybe a bit steeper with my lack of gaming prowess) for me. There simply was no way around it. He was going to have to earn all the pucks back if he wanted the card again. I couldn’t just buy him the card, like my fixer self craved to do. But this is also where the magic happened.
We were able to give him a little cash toward a few new packs. At first look these packs did not hold the selling power that one would need in order to build up a serious puck value. This didn’t destroy my son though. By the end of the day he had a plan. He had searched through is game bin and came up with a pile of games he was done playing with. He chatted with me about whether or not I thought he would regret trading them in. We tossed the idea back and forth. And he decided it was worth trading in these games in order to get the points he needed to buy more hockey card packs. Off we were to the gamestop where he got twice the value he was expecting. Along with a ton of compassion from the gamestop employ who assured him most gamers are bound by the honor and integrity code (which was a truly beautiful moment to witness).
Next my son used all the knowledge he had gained when acquiring the previous puck value to sort and sell his wares. He was comparing market value, watching for lulls in the market in order to up the value of his cards, equipping special feature that would make his cards stand out on the market. And with in 24 hours my son proudly announced he again had his Patrick Kane card and that he would never consider doing a deal that sounded too good to be true.
I watched in total wonder at the entire process. I learned from him. I learned that he knows his family is behind him 100 percent and that we are the place he falls when his heart is breaking. We are the arms that will hold him while he heals. We are the place of support unconditionally. We are the place he heals in order to strengthen. I also witnessed him apply, with brilliant success a can do attitude. He did not let the con man steal his sense of his own ability. Sure he made of his with hockey card. In the end though my son won because he believed in himself and his own ability to learn from a mistake, dust himself off and get back out there to achieve his goal. His out of the box thinking once again impressed the heck out of me.
In the world we live in it’s sometimes easy to get discouraged by the heart breaking stories that make the news more then the heart warming stories. It’s easy to believe that people suck and do horrible things. But as my son reminded me, the real strength lies in our willingness to believe in ourselves, especially through our mistakes, for that’s were we grow a stronger sense of our own capabilities.