The Dragon Bracelet

I’m going to tell you a story that’s going to warm your heart.  Ready?  Buckle up friends, this one is going to make you smile:

On Saturday morning, our neighbours had a garage sale.  They were setting up as my sleepy-eyed children wandered out of their bedrooms and down the stairs.  My kids know that I often say yes to garage sale bargains, and I agreed to give them $5 each to spend at the sale.  My husband was away for the weekend, and as I puttered about the kitchen making breakfast, my kids happily scoured the treasures next door, decked out in pyjamas and bedhead.

They came home with a large several-trips-needed-to-carry karaoke machine and a framed picture of two zebras.  Impressed by the eclectic nature of their choices and the massive neighbour discount given to them, the karaoke machine went into the basement for hours of loud, uninterrupted fun, and the zebra picture went onto my daughter’s bedroom wall.  But, as with many impromptu purchases and the lessons needed to be learned about money, they began to tell me about all of the other cool stuff they’d seen.

“Mom, can we just have $5 more, and then we can get this, and this, and this!”

I explained that if they wanted anything more, they would have to buy it with their own money, and the discussion soon turned to a silver bracelet that they’d both seen.  My daughter wanted it because it reminded her of a dragon tail, and my son wanted it because it reminded him of Harry Potter and wizards.  The arguing began and I told them that if they wanted to purchase this special bracelet, they would first have to figure out how to share it fairly, minus the sibling squabbles.

They were mulling this idea over as we climbed into the truck and backed out of our driveway…… and as we glanced back at the garage sale, we saw the seven-year-old girl who lives on the other side of us walking up to the table to purchase, you guessed it, the coveted bracelet.  My daughter cried; she had envisioned taking her 50 cents back to the sale and purchasing the dragon tail bracelet to wear forever and always.  There’s a lot of absolutes when you’re seven.  But here’s where the story will warm your heart:

We went to Burlington Sports & Spine Clinic for the morning (when I’m solo-parenting, my kids sometimes spend time with Netflix in the clinic’s massage room) and returned to find a gift on our front step, addressed to my daughter.

IMG_2165“To Casey,” the card read, “I saw you looking at this bracelet and I wanted to get it for you.  I hope you like it.  From, K.”

I think I’ll end the story right here.  What else is there to say?  Three days later, and I’m still marvelling at the kindness and thoughtfulness of that moment.  I hope that it brings some joy to you too.


Next time, I’ll do Better.

I was in a situation a few weeks ago that I can’t get out of my head; a situation that I feel guilty about, that I’m disappointed with myself about.  And what usually helps is putting pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard, and getting it out of the rumination stage and into the take-action stage.

So here goes:

A few Tuesdays ago, my family was driving to swimming lessons.  We took two separate cars, as my husband was planning to head directly to the gym after swimming, while I was to take the kids home and put them to bed.  The kids chose to ride their with their dad, so I was alone in my car, a very rare occurrence, cozy and comfortable.  It was a stormy night, one of the few we’ve had during this mild Winter, with blowing snow and frigid temperatures, combined with mid-January evening darkness.  A miserable time to be out, and I was bundled in full Winter gear for the short drive to the pool.

I slowed down as I approached a red light, and noticed three people huddled together at a bus stop sign.  There was no bus shelter where they could be protected from the elements, just a bus sign on the side of the road.  I made eye contact with the figure whom I presumed to be the mother, and I glanced down at her two young daughters, who were likely in the four to six age range.  All three were in snowpants and parkas, scarves and toques, all carrying grocery bags and waiting for the bus to arrive.

I didn’t stop to help.  I had two empty carseats, an SUV full of trunk space, and I didn’t stop.  Several weeks later, I am still thinking about why on earth I didn’t stop.  This was not in my usual character.  I could’ve helped, I could’ve brightened their day, I could’ve made a difference.  But I chose not to.

Ten seconds later, I phoned my husband through my car’s Bluetooth.  “I’m turning around,” I said, “I’m going back to pick up that family I just saw.”

“I saw them too,” he said.  “Good idea.”

I turned around.  I went back to pick them up.  But in the three or four minutes it had taken me to reach that decision, they were gone, likely already on the bus they’d be waiting for.  And I’d missed my chance.  I’d missed my chance to be the best person I can be.  To be the person I want my kids to be.  To be the person that I usually am.

I arrived at the pool a few minutes after my family, and explained what happened.  I’d lost the opportunity to help, I told them.  I wish I would’ve reacted sooner, I told them.  Mommy was trying to be a good person, I told them.

But I didn’t try hard enough, and I’m quite honestly beating myself up about it.  Now, you can be assured I didn’t write this post to get online approval, or the you-really-are-a-good-person comments, but rather I wrote it because human experience has a learning curve.  Here’s a good reminder for us all: if you see a person who needs help, help.

Next time, I’ll do better.

bigger table