Friday, November 5, 2010

A Mother's Gift

Last night I took my smallest to the fireworks display at the school. Usually, due to the amount of kids I have and the cost of us all getting in, plus the amount we’d spend once inside, we watch them from the window or, like last year, we stood in the lane beside the school and watched them there. If we went inside the school, what with the ticket cost and each child having something of everything there, we’d be talking upwards of fifty pounds. Not happening.

Last year, Smallest asked if we could afford to actually go inside next time because there were fairground rides, sweetie stalls, the candy floss man, and all manner of joyous things to do. I remember saying yes, thinking that the finances would be better by now. They aren’t, and I worried about how I would be able to manage us all going this year because I’d promised.

Anyway, as it happened, only Smallest wanted to go, and I was able to afford the tickets plus a few bits inside. With only one child to pay for, it didn’t break the bank. Just to be able to take her inside made my day, just to see the delight on her face, because as we walked home from school yesterday, she’d mentioned all her class asked if she was going and she’d said no. I knew she wanted to go desperately, but she never went on about it, just accepted that she couldn’t go. After working out my money, I called her into the kitchen and whispered that I would take her. Her face! Offer me a thousand pounds at that minute versus seeing her face and the face would win.

Off we went, and as we drew closer, we heard the music and laughter. Even that set her off bouncing. Once inside, I watched her as she took it all in, knowing she thought: I’m finally in here! I got to go!

I’ll admit the emotion got a bit much for me and I kept having to hold back tears. She got some candy floss, she had a glowing, flickering light sabre, a glowing necklace, and then the firework display. I spent the whole time with my hands clamped over her ears, staring up at the pretty sparkles thinking back to my own childhood. If I went to a display, I can’t for the life of me remember it, so being there was also like the first time for me. And the tears started rolling. I’d given my child the memory of being at a display, something I never had, and something most children there have taken for granted their whole lives. To us it was a wonder to be savoured, something so simple, and I was given one of those times in life where the whole planet disappeared except for me and her.

I love those special moments, and to be honest, I wanted to sob, but of course, being surrounded by the crowd prevented that. Yet I thought: If I want to sob, why shouldn’t I? What does it matter if people see and give me odd looks? Once again, society and its rules, as it so often does, stopped me from being myself and just going with what felt right. Tainted the moment for a second, but there you go.

After the display, she had a ride on the swinging pirate ship, trying valiantly to not throw up, glancing at me waiting in the crowd every few seconds because, I’ll admit it, we’ve sheltered her as much as we can from the harshness of life. We want her to be a child for as long as possible—they grow up so fast these days, and around here, some adopt the snobbery of their parents, who look down on people who aren’t loaded with cash.

And then, wonder of wonders for my girl, I told her she could have a glowing balloon. They have little lights inside and are so cool. She’d eyed them earlier, and I’d said no because I didn’t want to carry the thing around while we were there due to the high winds. Off we went to buy one, and the lady selling them said we could have one for 50p because it was time to pack up. She struggled to get the colour Smallest wanted out of the bunch, and then said, “D’you know what, have them all!”

How I didn’t cry again at the look on my girl’s face I don’t know. Ten balloons were handed over, and she looked like she might cry herself from shock.

Sometimes, good things do happen. Sometimes we’re rewarded in the smallest of ways, generous gestures like that woman’s. Sometimes, the gift of knowing you gave your child a memory she’ll cherish for the rest of her life makes all the struggles worthwhile.
I'm also blogging HERE today about the trials and tribulations of waxing...
Have a great day and a great weekend, everyone!


Amber Skyze said...

Aawww, what a beautiful story. A memory you'll both share for a lifetime. :)

Anny Cook said...

Well. I cried for you. Wonderful story--especially as I know exactly what you were feeling. We, too, couldn't afford such things when our children were small. And yes, the expressions on their faces are absolutely priceless.

Tess MacKall said...

Awww...Nat. So beautiful. I can see you now with the light from the fireworks shining on your face, spotlighting those tears. Such a sweet, sweet story.

I know you so well and know this is truly how you feel about life. How you enjoy and simply savor what others take for granted.

Good times are coming your way, sweetie. Coming your way for sure. God is surely watching you.

adoptedjoy said...

Thank you for sharing this story, I think all mother's have that special story inside of them of each of their children. And it doesn't seem to matter how old they are, there are always special moments for us to hold close to ourselves. Your smallest will never forget this

C. Zampa said...

Oh,the wonderful way the universe works sometimes!

I came in cranky and down today, even though it's Friday, but when I read this, every cranky thing just faded from my mind and I smiled so big, and so happy, and my heart swelled with the joy of this moment that you shared.

I wish I could have seen the Smallest's face...must have been absolutely priceless, and an 'heirloom' that will outlast all the money in the world.

Thanks, thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

KelRhiasMum said...

How lovely, I was sobbing when I read this, as not only do I know exactly how you felt, I can see her little face light up, and also imagine her constantly looking up at you for reassurance that this wonderful experience is really happening "to her".

Money can't buy happiness or love and you and yours have both in abundance.

Love you xxx

Natalie Dae said...

I've finally composed myself enough to comment. Seems writing this enabled me to sob like I should have last night. All the comments set me off crying again too, LOL.

So, I will respond to everyone individually now.


Natalie Dae said...

Amber, thanks. It was one of those beautiful times that makes life worth living.


Natalie Dae said...

Sorry to have made you cry, Anny. Proves you don't need oodles of money to find a blessing like those moments, though, eh?


Natalie Dae said...

My dear, Tess. Grr, crying again LOL. You are just one of the most darling people I've ever had the pleasure to have in my life. Yep, those kinds of moments are what make life for me. Little gestures and things like that, things someone else wouldn't bat an eyelid at. I'll never forget last night.



Natalie Dae said...

Hi Joy!

Yes, you're right. There are lots of memories, but each of my children have a special one or two that make me cry when I think about them.

It sounds morbid, but last night I also thought: When I'm dead and gone, she'll maybe think about this night and smile, knowing I did my best to make a dream come true. I hope she looks back on it with fondness, something we did together, just her and me, because I have five children and it's sometimes hard to give each one the individual attention they deserve.


Natalie Dae said...

CZ, I agree that sometimes you can feel one way, then you read or see something that changes everything. I've told you before, but each of us are angels sent to help others out during the times they need it most. We may not think what we've said as important, but to someone out there it has had a profound effect.


Natalie Dae said...

KelRhia, your comment made me cry the most. I thought it was about time I made you cry again anyway LOL.

Yes, she kept looking up at me and smiling. I'll never forget that. I can still feel her hand in mine. ARGH! Bloody tears won't stop today.

I love you too, big sis. xxx

Dita Parker said...

Such a beautiful story! Kind of hurt to read it, but it was the good kind of hurt, promise.

My fondest childhood memories are pretty ordinary moments shared with friends and family. I try to remember that when the world around me tries to make me question whether I'm giving my kids everything I could and they deserve.

I don't think I'll die wishing I'd bought them more stuff or taken them to Disneyland on a regular basis or whatever, but I would regret not reading to them, baking together, going on picnics in the garden, goofing around...

No shame in crying either, I tells ya. I tell that to my kids too, and practice what I preach.

Have a wonderful weekend. *sigh*

Natalie Dae said...

Hi Dita!

Yes, same here. The things I remember most about being a child are the times spent in or around the home. So really, even though the kids remember big things like holidays and whatever, the special times are more likely to be closer to home.


Faith said...

Aw, God bless both your hearts!

And glowing balloons? Wow, that's cool. Never seen those before!

Natalie Dae said...

Me neither, Faith. They're just your average balloon with a tiny light, like the bulbs on Christmas lights but smaller, inside. She put the bunch in the corner of her room last night and said they looked great.

When she woke this morning, they were the first thing she saw, and she said, "They kept bobbing about in the night."

I have a feeling she kept waking up to check they were still there!


Regina Carlysle said...

I don't usually cry first thing in the morning but, believe me, they are happy tears. I know how you love your children and want for them all the happy 'kid' things that so many of us take for granted. Can't tell you how thrilled I am that you gave her this moment and then, got to share it with her. Who says Mother's Day only comes once a year? Love you, honey.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Nat, so glad you got to spend such a special evening with your youngest. :) It'll be something she remembers always.

With my two oldest, times were very hard, and fun rare. They both remember the few special events in our lives. Even with the youngest, we still have to watch every penny, but she's had a few too.

I totally understand your tears. You should have cried anyway, despite what those around you thought. :)

Debbie Gould said...

When the ladies sitting around me in the office looked over and asked why I was crying I had them come read your post.
Now you've got us all crying.
I'm so happy you were able to take her and bless that woman for making her night!

Natalie Dae said...

Yes, Reg, it was a great night. Nothing much to shout about in terms of where we went, but very special to us.

I love you too, very muchly! HUG! Sorry that you cried!


Natalie Dae said...

Hi Lisa!

You're right, I should have cried, but if I had, I wouldn't have been able to stop haha, much like today. Funny how something small like that sets you off. I just picked her up from school; she was still going on about it LOL.


Natalie Dae said...

Oh, Deb, sorry! Now I feel badly for making you all cry. Send my apologies to the ladies too!


Debbie Gould said...

It was a good cry, no worries, lol.

Natalie Dae said...

Oh good.


Scarlet Mahara said...

What a precious story! Thank you for sharing it! I cherish the days with my little ones!

Jaime Samms said...

This was just the blog post I needed to read today.

Natalie Dae said...

Hi Scarlet!

They're the best times!


Natalie Dae said...

Jaime, I'm glad it helped you in some way, love. Big hugs!


Madison Scott said...

Thank you for sharing that story. It's beautiful. I've definitely been in that situation. It's such a joy to see how much they love stuff like that.

Anne Rainey said...

Such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing that moment with us. :)

Natalie Dae said...

Thanks Madison, Anne!


Anthology Authors said...

Oh, Nat. We are lucky. In the States on the 4th of July, you can get in to see the fireworks for $3/person. One year, because we came a little late, it was free. We sat toward the back of the football field and watch the fireworks. Still, how wonderful for you and for your youngest.


Natalie Dae said...

Hiya Marci!

Yeah, it was great to go this time.