An unexpected and beautiful thing happened yesterday that I want to share.
Vic hurried home from work so he could take the kids Christmas shopping for me and give me an evening alone. (That, in itself, is a Christmas gift).
I happily cleaned my house and got more done in 30 minutes than I had all week. When the gang finally got back home, Peter marched into the kitchen carrying a large TJ Maxx bag with a giant grin on his face.
Out of the bag he pulled this loopdey loop Hot Wheels track thing. I was so confused as to why Vic bought if for him and why he was actually letting Peter see it. It wasn't on our list of gifts for him and why would he buy something so close to Christmas and let him actually play with it?
Vic proceeded to tell me that a cute Philippino woman bought it for Peter.
Really? REALLY? Why?
As you can imagine, Peter was pointing to it over and over in the toy section saying, "I love dat. I want dat. Can I get it for Christmas, Dad?"
This woman walked to the register, bought it, then brought it back to Peter.
"I have a 4 year-old son in the Philippines who I can't be with this Christmas. It makes me happy to buy this for him."
As the boys were setting up their new treasure (it's actually really cool and does three full spiral upside down thingamajigs then launches off a jump at the end), it was my turn to go out and do some shopping. (Can't tell you how handy it is to have the Park City Outlet Mall precisely 1.5 miles from your house).
My first stop was Old Navy. While waiting in line to make my purchase, I was behind a little Hispanic family. They were literally counting their coins to buy their clothes. Their youngest daughter kept pointing at a Hello Kitty toy and crying. I could tell she was exhausted (it was 9 p.m. and the store was closing). At first, I just smiled and thought, "Oh, I've been there with my kids."
And then it dawned on me--if this cute little woman, a stranger, could buy my Peter a gift, why can't I do the same for this little girl?
They finished paying for their clothes and I hurried to the register with the Hello Kitty watch and said, "I want to buy this for them."
I handed it to the little girl and immediately she stopped crying. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and curly brown hair and smiled.
"Feliz Navidad!" I said.
She gave me a little hug and went out into the cold to pile into the car with her family.
I finished my transaction and that's when I got in my car and started sobbing. I called Vic right away and told him what happened.
"Thank you for doing that!" Vic said in a shaky voice.
"Thank the lady who bought Peter the car track."
I finally let all my tears for the families in Newton pour out. I cried because my Lucy is not with us this Christmas and Peter keeps saying he wants to go to be with her. "Is it very far away?" I cried because the ripple effect of one person's kindness, all within an hour, was so beautiful and overwhelming.
It wasn't about the things, the toys, but just the awareness and the kindness and the love. It kind of knocked the wind out of me for a second.
The little girl was Lucy's age. It felt so wonderful to buy something for her.
That's why I sat alone in my car on a cold night and cried. For the families in Connecticut. For my family. For your family. For love and beauty and kindness. And for the true meaning of Christmas.