Friday, December 11, 2009

this little light of mine

yesterday afternoon, little m and i braved the freezing cold (i know- all things are relative, but to me, it is freezing!) to run some errands. i had been planning to stop at cost plus for a couple of things on our way home from m's school yesterday. there is one right on the way, but at the last minute i decided to skip it so that i could shop at the one in oakland and drop a few pennies into oakland's tax coffers, and help keep some local employees in a job.

we were browsing the store, and i was narrating everything to little m as we shopped for a few things. (poor thing- she'd already had school and therapy, and i was trying to stuff in a little more language to her day.) now, cost plus for a spunky 20 month old is basically a pit of temptation. between all of the sparkly, breakable ornaments, the international edible treats all at eye level, and the umpteen stocking stuffer displays which are packed with attractive toys that fit perfectly into one's hand, i was surprised that my daughter wasn't throwing one continuous temper tantrum. somehow, she wasn't.

i pointed to these cute red votive candle holders (see above photo), and said "mommy thinks these shiny red votives are really pretty. but i don't need them, i just want them. and we don't always get to buy what we want." we kept looking at things until m decided that from her perch in her cart, and with one swipe of her hand, she could dismantle an entire display of felted table runners and deposit them on the ground. i was picking them up and rearranging them on the shelf when a stranger walked up to me. she was waving at little m and saying hi to her. little m's response was to shake her head and say no very firmly. as in, "no, i don't feel like saying hi to you." the stranger pointed to the votives which were about 20 feet away. "were you just looking at those candleholders over there?" i said yes. she smiled, handed me a bag and said, "i bought you two. merry christmas." i wanted to say, "you have no idea. it has been a hard week, and i left the house to come shopping just because my mind was racing. this was so kind and generous of you. thank you." but instead i sort of stammered thank you & felt my face redden.

such a small but meaningful gesture. the stranger and i probably won't ever see each other again. i looked at little m and said, "sometimes we do kind things for people even when we don't know them. that's what kind of people we want to be."

and m lunged for a display of holiday wine glasses, so it was time to head home.

but it was a moment that i needed yesterday.

and every time i look at my votives, i will think of kindness, grace, and generosity.


  1. are you kidding...what an aamzing uplifting story...a blessing!

  2. How lovely. What a beautiful Oakland moment.

  3. The best gifts are the memorable ones. And vice versa.

  4. seriously?!??!?! every time i come back you make me tear up!!! make it stop! hahahaha

  5. This is so, so special, lovely and beautiful. Sigh. It makes my heart so full to be reminded of the inherent goodness in people.

  6. The tears came quickly for this one. Thank you this beautiful story... I wanna be like that too.


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