I wanted to get the boys Easter baskets this year that would be ones we'd reuse year after year, like my Mama did for me and my brothers. The past 4 years I've just used whatever I could find: a wooden box, a plain "regular" basket, one year a sand bucket. But this year I was determined to find their "every year" basket for their Easter morning treasures. Then last week I saw online that a shop in-town was selling handmade fabric bins for Easter baskets. Proceeds from the sale would go to support a local mother who was battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Sold. I packed the boys into the car and we headed out.
As we were driving to buy the bins/baskets, I told BC where we were going.
"I need to go get your Easter baskets."
"Mama, you don't need to, you want to."
(Had he been paying attention, or what?)
"You're right. It is a want, not a need."
"Can't we just use our Halloween buckets?"
"We could. But the baskets I'm buying today have a special purpose."
"What special purpose?"
"Well, the money the shop raises from selling these baskets is going to help a woman, a mom, who is really sick. Because she's so sick, she can't work a job to make money. Also, she has a lot of medical expenses because she has to go to the doctor a lot."
"So I don't need to buy these particular Easter baskets, but doing so will help this mom."
"Mama, is my bank still in the car? Because I want to give my money to help that mom and her medical expenses."
While choking back tears I asked him if he was sure. "Really sure?" He was. He wanted to carry his bank in himself. He told the woman at the counter why he was there (I expanded/clarified). We got our baskets, she got a bowl. He dumped the contents of his bank into the bowl. I looked at him and could see his mixed emotions.
"Are you okay, buddy?"
"Yeah. It's just a a little hard seeing all my hard-earned money going away."
"But I've decided. I'm doing it."
And that was that. My not-even-5-year-old donated his "hard-earned" money to a stranger, because he felt empathetically compelled.
So much of parenting is worry. Worrying about how best to bring up these small humans we are helping to shape. Worrying about whether or not someone like me should even be entrusted to shape a dog, let alone a human. Worrying about the thousands of little decisions that must be made on a daily basis. Worrying about the big decisions. Worrying about worrying too much, and worrying about not worrying enough. But in that moment I felt all that worry melt away. I knew that I must be doing something right. Not that the moment was about me. It wasn't. At all. It was about my wonderful, sweet, caring, big-hearted son, who in that moment worried about a woman he'd never even met.