Two Dollar Bills

Lela found two one dollar bills on the kitchen counter on our way out the door.

“Mom, May I please bring these to the store and pick out a treat” Without hesitation I agreed, hoping this would move along the process of getting out the door.

During the car ride she held tight to the two dollars with excitement in her eyes. I could envision she was thinking of rows and rows of candy, and the endlessness of choice. In my mind I busy preparing myself for how I was going to break the news….you’re going to have to share this candy with your brother, no you may not have hard candy, we have those at home already, just one. We most certainly had different goals for the two little dollars, I was sick with worry.


Clutching my hand with hers we walked the hy-vee parking lot. In her other hand she held her money up into the sunshine, as if trying to see a secret message on the one dollar bill.

Then we stopped, and lela stared at the man with the bell, and the man with the bucket. We watched several people pass him by without a word. Then I squatted down and explained as briefly as I could what is in the red bucket. Without hesitation she folded her two little dollar bills and pushed them into the red pail.

“Have good day” she grinned.

And into the store we went. She never once asked for the money back, or for replacement of the candy she surely can’t get now. I was honestly speechless.

Through the eyes of a child I am reminded of the joy of giving and I plan to look for more ways to give, to sacrifice something I think I would enjoy for something someone else really needs.

The Manual to Toddlers

My little S-Man (21 months) brings me story book, after story book,  after story book all. day. long. It’s easily his passion right now, to hear a good book, or 50.

I’ve never enjoyed reading books, growing up, I did everything I could to avoid it. Now (when time allows) I read “real life” only. Those books must have good tips on photography, or how to cook dinner, or must answer my Q’s and A’s about….something. So why doesn’t my son understand I may honestly vomit if I have to read the tractor book again?

Where is the manual for my little toddlers? What makes them happiest, saddest? How can I get them to eat, or pray or ideally both? Why don’t they want their own space, “they are always around” (one of my favorite lines from Big Daddy)? Will they ever be grateful? How do I teach them grace and compassion? Why do they want to read the same book over and over again? Will I ever have enough time?

Probably not.

But I can choose and make time to read my little man another one of his favorite make-believe stories about the little Elmo that could. And I hope somewhere between Sesame Street and the Farmer in the Dell, I find the real life story of us, no manual needed.