I got an email the other week from the principal at Max's school. One of the local firefighters—they have a station right around the corner and they visit from time to time—had outgrown a gear jacket and wanted to give it to Max. Would he like it?
Um: YEAH!!! I asked Max, just to be sure. He said: "YEAH!!!"
Several years ago, Max decided he was going to be a firefighter. These days, he no longer visits our local station every weekend, but they're still his people. Whenever Max stops by, he ends up hanging out with them at the big dining room table in their living area, where they catch up about Max's life and the most recent fires they've put out. Firefighters remain some of the biggest-hearted people I have ever met who go out of their way to encourage Max's dreams. Remember that time his favorite, Firefighter Angelo, showed up at our house on his birthday to give him a ride in a fire truck? (I still watch that video on occasion because it is so bliss-tastic).
Max's principal put me in touch with Firefighter Matt, who told me that the town's deputy fire marshal and fire official/inspector were in on the gift—they both knew Max, too, and were fond of him and the enthusiasm he shares for their work. We arranged for Max and Dave to stop by after school last week. Max could not wait.
Max got a jacket and pants, too. He definitely has to grow into the gear, but it'll be there for him. He looked pretty spiffy in it. What he can savor now and for the rest of his life: knowing that there are good guys out there who make him feel like one of their own.