Tag Archives: kindness

The accidental Scrooge

Last night, my son told me he had something important to show me at school this morning. “A tree in the hallway,” he said, “with paper ornaments.”

That’s sweet, I thought.  While we’re still new to Kindergarten, we’ve now been at this long enough for me to start to get jaded over the number of paper creations and writings that come home. I try to celebrate each one, but they do stack up. I readied myself to show excitement over his latest effort, but had a hard time getting to “important.”

This morning he was slow to wake, and slower to get ready. I nudged him along, reminding him that he wanted me to see this tree thing, and that things always start on the dot on Fridays when he has music class. He couldn’t decide what he wanted for breakfast. Then I had to help him with his shoes. He tossed his gloves onto the floor when he came home from school yesterday, so we ended up having to grab a mismatched pair after searching around for more wasted minutes.

The later we leave in the morning, the worse the traffic is bound to be. So I groused at him a bit in the car, and scolded that we wouldn’t be able to see the tree because it had been so hard to get him moving.

We arrived to school about one minute late. He insisted again that we needed to visit the tree, even if it made us late to music class.

I gave in. I crank a lot about timeliness – mostly because it tends to be a better start to the day for all of us when we’re there on time, not because I’m a paragon of promptness or because his teachers are cops. But when my son feels strongly about something, I try to let him have that if I can.

We walked to his classroom, where another parent opened the door and confirmed that all the kids were gone, expecting us to turn straight around. Instead, Declan grabbed my hand and pulled me urgently past the dad, then turned me toward this paper tree that had three or four ornaments on it.

“I was worried these would all be gone,” he said. “We need to take one so I can buy something for the children who don’t have any clothes or food or toys like we do for Christmas. They don’t have anything, mom.”

He picked an ornament that committed us to getting a soft toy for a one-and-a-half-year-old boy and seemed genuinely relieved when I stuffed it in my purse and said that we’d do that this weekend.

I felt Scroogey for needling him on the way to school, only to find out his urgent need for me to see this tree was to make sure that he could do do something kind.

Sometimes the universe swats you on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper and gives you an an unexpected, after-school special-worthy moment. And I am grateful. I’m even looking forward to some Christmas shopping. And Hallmark be damned, I’m going to hug the stuffing out of my kid tonight.