Friday, May 9, 2014

The Plant Sale

During a typical after-school, playground conversation, a friend asked about my neighbors and whether we were happy with them.  Since we have 4 kids and 2 dogs, there's a fair amount of chaos surrounding our any neighbor who can put up with all of this and NOT call the cops is A-OK in my book.  Which is why we frequently shovel/snowblow their driveways/sidewalks and bribe them with homemade cookies. 

Anyway......on one side of us, we have an older, single man who lives alone in his house.  His name is Joe.  We have absolutely no proof of this, but my husband and I believe he may have a very slight mental disability.  Perhaps on the autistic spectrum?  Again....we have no proof of this besides a deep gut instinct.  He isn't very chatty and holding a conversation with him can be quite difficult.  Nick and I have learned how to communicate with him.  To a child, like my 8 year old daughter, it seems that he may be rude or mean.

So during the conversation with my friend, Alexa happened to be listening at my side.  She suddenly looked up and said, matter-of-factly, "Joe is kinda mean."

This caught me by surprise.  I don't want her to think of him in that way.  "He isn't mean.  He just has a difficult time talking to people and he doesn't leave his house very much."

She shrugged.


Fast forward to yesterday.

The school held their annual plant sale for Mother's Day.  The girls were so excited.  I gave them each an envelope with $10. 

After school, they each came out of the school with big smiles and plastic bags holding their precious purchases.  Rachel's bag held two.....Alexa's bag also held 2, though they were slightly smaller.

Alexa:  "Mommy.  I used some of my money to buy a plant for Mrs. C."  (Her teacher)

Me:  "Oh honey.  That's so sweet of you.  I bet she loved it!"

Rachel:  "Mommy.  I got 2 plants and I have one dollar left."

Me:  "Ok.  That's fine!  I can't wait to plant all of these!"

Alexa:  Looking at me if I might be upset by what she was going to say.  "I don't have any money left.  I used it to buy one for my teacher."

Me:  Fighting to speak around the lump in my throat.  "Oh that's okay.  What you did was so kind and thoughtful and I don't mind.  That's why I gave you the spend on flowers."

Where did this child come from?  How did she grow such a big heart?  Is it possible for a mom to burst with pride?


Fast forward a tiny bit more.

Walking home from school with the prized plants in our hands.  Alexa looked up at me and said, "Mommy?  I want to give one of the plants to Joe."  She squinted up at me.  "Is that okay?"

"Of course it is.  That would be really nice of you.  I think he would love it."

Lump in my throat gets bigger.

She hustled into the house and wrote a note.  It said, simply, "To: Joe.....From: Alexa."  She put the note and the little flower pot on his front stoop. 

"I left the plant on Joe's steps, Mommy."

"Okay, baby.  Thank you.  I bet he'll love it."

That's my girl.  My selfless, big-hearted, gentle little girl.