I have a problem embracing the earth—dirt in particular. And I passed this problem on to my son. From the moment he opened his eyes, he learned to stay within the borders of a multi-colored patchwork quilt. The quilt was his world and I kept it cleaner than a surgeon’s prepped hands. Every time Jez slithered to the edge, I’d say “No” and put him back in the middle of the quilt. The quilt was his sanitary universe. Outside of the quilt, I was always armed with wet tissues and disinfectant spray. So there never was a smudge of dirt on my firstborn. The patchwork quilt continued to be his world even at almost 6 feet and 12 years of age. He could never spread out on the carpet and watch TV—unless the quilt was under him.
Unfortunately, my idiosyncrasy became his paranoia. On picnics he refused to sit on the grass. At dinnertime, he never let his hands touch anything but his fork. Swings on playgrounds had to be wiped down before his turn. He even refused to the brown M &M’s because he associated the color brown with dirt—He would carefully open a pack of the candy and separate the browns from the other colors. Kenny seeing this as an opportunity of a lifetime to have twice the amount of M & M’s, explained to Jez that if brown meant dirt, then chocolate in all form was banned. Chocolate was brown. Break open a yellow M & M and it is brown on the inside!
Somewhere along the way, Jez realized his need for chocolate exceeded his bias towards the color brown. Or it may have been the pain of handing it all to his brother who made a big production of enjoying ALL the M & M’s. I don’t know.
Today, Jez loves chocolate, still has an anxiety attack when he comes in contact with dirt, and regrets all the extra chocolate he missed out on during his partial to brown days.
Partiality almost always results in loss, don’t you think?