At the risk of ruining my reputation as a dilettante, for purposes of this story, this story that has had me in tears all week, I have to confess that I have been using my Crock-Pot a lot lately. (It is a Crock-Pot because it is older than Kristen and that’s what slow cookers were called over a quarter of a century ago.) Cooking dinner when I’m tired at the end of the day? Blech. So, in the morning before I get all distracted reading blogs when I’m more energetic, I throw some chicken, vegetables, and spices depending upon my mood (lemon and garlic for Greek, curry for Indian, tomato and basil for Italian, etc.) into my Crock-Pot. In the evening, I rip open a bag of lettuce and toss it with some salad dressing. Voilà! Dinner is served.

Anywho.

Moving right along to what’s had me in tears all week.

The Scholastic Book Fair was at Laura’s school last week, in the auditorium. On Monday, grandparents were specially invited. Cookies were served. On another day, dads were specially invited. Donuts were served. On still another day, moms were specially invited. Muffins were served. And so forth. All of these visits accompanied by treats were to promote sales and raise money for the school. Et cetera.

On Wednesday, Laura’s class was scheduled to visit during school hours. On Wednesday morning at drop off, I asked Laura if she needed a little money for the book fair visit with her class that day. She patted a little bulge in the pocket of her shorts and said that she’d brought her own money. I was pleasantly surprised, even a little proud that she did not ask us to buy her more books, and took responsibility to remember to bring her own money. I asked her how much she brought, and she patted her pocket again and said, “Twenty dollars.”

“Should you put your money in your backpack until it is time to go to the book fair? You know, so it doesn’t fall out of your pocket?”

“No, Mom, it’s fine in my pocket,” Laura replied.

Losing twenty dollars would be an expensive lesson. But it was her money, and she had taken responsibility for it. I released the outcome to the universe. I kissed her goodbye with the hope that her money would indeed be fine in her pocket.

That’s what I hoped for when I kissed her goodbye.

When I picked Laura up from school, she bounded out of the gate to greet me with a gigantic grin plastered across her face.

“Guess what I bought at the book fair?” she asked, wiggling with excitement.

“What?” I replied.

She reached into her backpack and pulled out a Crock-Pot recipe book. She held it out to me.

“Mommy, I just knew you’d really like this!” she said.

Her eyes were shining as bright as her smile.

My eyes were filled with tears.

“Laura, it is perfect. I love this. I really love this!” I told her.

The book cost $12.

“Honey, did you get anything for yourself?” I asked, choked up with emotion.

“Oh, yes! I bought myself a pencil to use at school. It’s in my desk!” she said happily.

“Where’s your change?” I asked.

Laura said, cheerfully, “B and C didn’t have money, so I gave B my five dollar bill and I gave C two dollars and change.”

Her eyes were shining as bright as her smile.

My eyes were filled with tears.

When I left Laura at school on Wednesday morning, I had hoped that she wouldn’t learn a lesson about money the hard way.

I got more, so much more, than I’d hoped for.

52 comments on “We Don’t Always Get What We Want”

  1. I am bawling like an idiot, thank you.

    And I also have a real-live ancient Crock-Pot, but please don’t tell your daughter because if she bought me a cookbook I would lose my few tenuous remains of dignity.

    What a rock star she is.

  2. Nononono, the story doesn’t end there—–your daughter Laura made ME a piggy box and sent it to me. She is so thoughtful and wonderful. What a bright and happy week she has made for so many different people. Thanks Laura, thanks Cheri and Tom for raising such a great child.

  3. I love stories like this–you know you’re a good mom when you have a daughter that thoughtful.

    A couple of years ago my daughter bought me a pizza fraction game at a class auction–for my future classroom. Best. Present. Ever.

  4. I’m having trouble reading others’ comments…everything has gone teary.

    I *heart* Laura. And I *heart* her mom & dad for raising such a selfless daughter.

  5. Just another reason why I love Laura. She really is a wonderful girl, Cheri. All of your daughters are.

    Laura reminds me of Little Dude, probably because they’re closer in age than say, my daughter (who is also a great kid, but who reminds me more of Courtney). Both Laura and LD have that independence and need for responsibility, and generosity, when it comes to money that is really rather amazing.

    I really think these two should get together. So much in common.

    Of course, we’d spend all our time pointing and gushing over how great they are. And I’m okay with that.

    Please tell Laura what an amazing young lady I think she is. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

    Da Goddess
    dagoddess.com

  6. Those precious moments when what our children do and say bring us tears of joy and pride…
    Bless her generous heart.
    (One of my sons once bought me a used book (a Western!) because he knew how much I loved to read.)

  7. P.S. Please occasionally post one of your Crock Pot chicken recipes. I don’t have good luck with chicken in there–only my famous brisket, which comes from a long-cherished family recipe I found on the internet. 😉

  8. Okay first of all, was Henry B? Or was he C? 🙂

    And Laura girl, YOU are a sweet little angel. Wow. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but WOW! Are you old enough to babysit? Because my kids need summa you in their lives!

  9. You done good, Laura, by being so thoughtful of others.

    To Cheri: if you can teach me how to love my slow-cooker, I’d appreciate it. We virtually groan when we see it hedging out of the counter.

  10. Oh, Cheri! What a wonderful, generous soul Laura is. I have goosebumps. This post was definitely worth ruining your reputation as a dilettante.

  11. Oh Cheri! That is so sweet! Laura is a such a good, good soul!!!

    Was Henry one of the kids that Laura gave money to? When we went to Mom’s and muffins I told him he could spend 10 bucks (I had just bought him 2 great books the day before) and it couldn’t be on a video game or some of the other non-book stuff they had at the bookfair. He was bummed out and only bought a pencil. I heard from the teacher later that he was really upset with me and was telling everyone that I was a cheapo and only allowed him to buy one pencil. (Which he got confiscated because he was playing around with it instead of doing his work) but anyway….

  12. Trish and Jamie:

    No. It wasn’t Henry.

    I used B & C to protect the innocent (children whose mothers don’t blog the details of their lives). 😉

    Trish: You’re not the only mother who got trash talked. I heard some of it myself from one of Laura’s other friends.

    I think it is impressive that you set reasonable limits in spite of the pressure. Dude, that Book Fair is designed to get the kids to pressure parents into buying crap so the school can make money. It encourages consumer, not contributor, mentality. IMHO. If they sold only books it would be one thing, but I suppose the school makes the real money on the crap.

    You did right by Henry.

  13. I’m having a hard time typing through the tears….

    There sometimes comes a child who, you can just tell, is going to just kick some major butt in postitively anything she (or he) does. Your Laura is one that I will enjoy watching grow into her greatness…it’s gonna be big. And really…me thinks she comes by this from some really good DNA.

    I wonder if some of that will rub off on other kids? This summer? Yeah…LegoLand…the beach..I don’t care…maybe some will rub off on me…oh sorry, on the boys!!

  14. That is very sweet. We did a clean sweep on Carlie’s bedroom this weekend and while I did not find a crockpot recipe book (which would have made me sqeeeee!), I did find a little notebook. The pages had things written in her “little kid” handwriting of a couple of years ago, things like I HATE MY MOM, MY MOM IS MEEN LIKE A WICH. Followed by SORRY MOM on the next page. My favorite page was I HATE HORZ CAMP AND MOM’S, apparently written after I had plunked down the $250/week for the effing horse camp that she was going to DIE if she did not attend.

    Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. You have a sweet girl.

  15. Oh great. Crying first thing in the morning.

    What a sweetheart! My kids would have bought $20 worth of brownies. For themselves.

    And are you telling me they don’t call them crock-pots any more? Because that’s what I called mine. I’m going to throw some chicken in it today.

  16. What a Sweetheart!

    So, she’s got it down, this living thing!

    Listened to Dallas Willard lecture on my way to the desert, and he said that our life’s calling is to 1) Love and serve others and 2) To receive the love and service of others!

    Blew me away as if he’d said something brand new! Then he said, “It’s as simple as that!”

    Wow!

    I think Laura GETS IT! We must all follow her example! 🙂

  17. It really sucks to start out my freaking day crying! Now if I just had a lovely Crock Pot cookbook given to me with love, I could make dinner right now, and just go wallow in some more happy tears.

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