Friday, October 24, 2014

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: A hand-me-up: Little girl shows true generosity

By AMY NEWMARK, Chicken Soup for the Soul | 6/6/2014

Whey payday came, Cynthia Hamond bought a pair of pink princess boots for her 6-year-old. She got them half a size big so they’d last, and she made sure they were extra insulated for the Minnesota winter. As she wrote in her story “A Little Hand Up,” published in our book on parenthood, her daughter, Renee, was thrilled.

She wore them all weekend long, only taking them off to take a bath and go to bed. Cynthia was thrilled about the boots, too. They’d given her an excuse to throw away Renee’s raggedy old boots with the stuck zippers. And she knew they would keep Renee much warmer.

Whey payday came, Cynthia Hamond bought a pair of pink princess boots for her 6-year-old. She got them half a size big so they’d last, and she made sure they were extra insulated for the Minnesota winter. As she wrote in her story “A Little Hand Up,” published in our book on parenthood, her daughter, Renee, was thrilled.

She wore them all weekend long, only taking them off to take a bath and go to bed. Cynthia was thrilled about the boots, too. They’d given her an excuse to throw away Renee’s raggedy old boots with the stuck zippers. And she knew they would keep Renee much warmer.

On Monday, the forecast called for a blizzard, so Cynthia bundled Renee up, and she sent her to school with her older brothers. A couple of hours later, school was canceled, and, shortly, all three kids were racing back in the door. The boys gave their mom a high-five and headed straight for their game system. Renee trailed in behind them. She wiggled, hoping her winter clothes would slip off her, and then said, “Mommy, I’m stuck all over,” before plopping onto her backside, “thankfully cushioned by the seat of her snow pants,” Cynthia wrote.

Cynthia bent over to help, and then noticed. “Renee? Where are your new boots?”

“These are my new, new boots,” Renee said.

These dirty boots with broken clasps were not her new princess boots.

“No, honey,” Cynthia said, “these aren’t your new boots. Look, snow got in through the hole in the side.”

“Yup,” Renee agreed cheerfully. “My friend’s clothes are all like that, and these boots were too small for her. My boots fit her, and she looked pretty in them. She gave me her boots as a hand-me-down, and I gave her mine as a hand-me-up.”

Cynthia was dumbstruck. She had always tried to set an example for Renee by giving away clothes the family no longer needed. Renee had taken it a step further. “She reminded me,” Cynthia wrote, “that God hands us down His blessing so that we may cheerfully hand-me-up His abundance to others.”

•••

Mandy Houk and her husband Pete were nearly broke. They were unemployed and living off their checking account. Things were getting tight enough that evaluating the prices of gallons of milk at the grocery store brought Mandy to tears, as she wrote in her story “For Richer, For Poorer,” published in our book about counting our blessings.

Mandy and Pete’s anniversary was coming up, which was tough because they took anniversaries seriously, always setting aside the money and time to go away together, if only for a night.

But this anniversary would be different. There was no saving these days, just conserving. Mandy didn’t even bring up their anniversary. She knew how it would make Pete feel. The night before their anniversary, they still hadn’t said a word about it to each other.

The next morning Mandy woke up and Pete wasn’t in bed. She dragged herself up and into the bathroom, and then she saw something on the counter: “a small scroll of sorts.” It was a little piece of paper tied with a red ribbon. Mandy recognized it from her daughter’s hair-bow box.

When Mandy unrolled the paper and read what was inside, she was brought to tears again, “tears totally unlike the ones I’d shed at the dairy case,” she wrote. Inside, Pete had printed a love poem from a book he’d given her the year before.

“So many images came into my mind as I read those words,” Mandy wrote. “I saw Pete thumbing through the book until he found the perfect poem. I saw him at the computer clicking through to find a fancy font. I saw him trimming the page with a ruler to keep the edges straight.”

“Described in plain terms,” she continued, “what I received was a rolled-up piece of paper tied with a used ribbon scrap.” But what she really received was “evidence of Pete’s continued commitment to me and to our marriage.”

“Pete spent no money on this gift, and I was glad. But the time and the creativity and the thoughtfulness that came straight from Pete’s heart will stay with me forever.”

Syndicated by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, online at www.chickensoup.com

comments powered by Disqus