27 April 2013

Today is someone's 52nd birthday, and while I remembered to pick up a cake mix this week, I didn't have quite enough vegetable oil on hand (aside: because I made chocolate chip muffins last night so he would have something nice for breakfast when he got home...all I had on hand to make them in were some silicon muffin cups I bought probably 5 years ago and never used, and let me tell you, I'll never make muffins in paper cups again.) So I headed to Walmart before heading to Starbucks, and as I am wont to do, I wandered up and down a couple of aisles, trying to trigger any what-else-do-I-need notions.

There was a woman shopping with her little boy; I'm guessing he was about four years old. He walked next to her, so damned happy he was practically glowing, and he clutched a package of cookies at his chest. I passed them twice, and twice I head him ask, "I'm being good, right, Mommy?"

She assured him he was.

I wound up in the self-serve line behind them; she only had about 6 things, fruits, vegetables, milk, a loaf of bread. And the cookies. The cookies went across the scanner first and were set on the scale, and he bounced on his toes while Mommy scanned everything else.

And then she froze for a moment, her debit card in hand; he shoulders went a touch slack and she sucked in a breath, glance at her little boy, and back at the screen.

When she knelt down to get at his eye level, I knew what was coming. I braced for the temper tantrum. She didn't have enough; something had to be put back, and it needed to be the cookies.

He didn't scream. He didn't throw a fit. His lower lip went out just a little and his eyes flooded with tears, and I damn near wanted to cry right along with him.

"But you said if I was good today I could get some cookies. I was good, right?"

She promised him he was a very good boy, always a very good boy, but she didn't have enough money to buy both the food they needed and the cookies. And she tossed him the parental bone: maybe on payday.

Those tears spilled over his cheeks and as young as he is, I'm sure he's heard that before and felt the sting of how maybe tends to evaporate into thin air.

It's really not about the cookies...
In a fraction of a second, I felt the weight of nearly every parental bone I had ever thrown, so many times I said maybe next time. Far too many instances of when I said that instead of just being honest with the Boy and telling him no, because we frankly didn't have the money.

Parental bones are splintered with the guilt of not having guts, and they prick at you for decades.

I'm not going to say exactly what I did, but I will tell you this: when they left, he was happy, and the guy behind me and the lady to my right both had cash in hand and were stepping toward the little boy.

He wasn't leaving without those cookies.

I'm pretty sure that by the time they got home the chocolate chips in them were a little melted, and a few cookies were cracked and crumbled from being held so tightly. But I bet they tasted sweet, enough to tide him over to the next inevitable maybe.


Anonymous said...

It is always good when the cookie fairy is in line behind good little boys and girls. Don't know what you did but glad the little boy got his "I have been good" cookies

Angel, Kirby and Max said...

THree cookie fairies all at one time. You have a wonderful heart!

Undr said...

So how much did that vegetable oil wind up costing you? ;)

Just Ducky said...

The Cookie Fairy just showed up!

Lsamsa said...

Cookie Fairies indeed...
A very happy little boy & a very happy and thankful Mom.
Cookie Fairies rule!

RANGER said...

At Eleven something in the morning, I have tears in my eyes. Life is not even-handed, is it?

Mighty Kitty said...

Sounds like the fact that he had not tossed a hissy fit maybe got rewarded. Even little four year old boys need their brand of a "nip banana" when they stand to lose what they really want and do that losing better than many adults. NO is the hardest word in our vocabulary and when that little man sky dives at 30 years old...those cookies will be remembered even then! What a mommy's heart you have! Thanks!!!

Mighty Kitty said...

It might have been just cookies or it might have been a chance to reward a little child for his courage and behavior. Either way...the cost will be remembered when he is Sigurd diving in another 26 years! Thanks for having a tender heart! Happy birthday to your spouse thingummy too