The Mom lugged the overflowing basket of dirty clothes through the family room on her way to the washing machine, sidestepping through the obstacle course made up of toys.
Her bare foot found the Barbie shoe minefield left by her daughter. She yelped in pain, jumped forward, and stepped squarely on the Lego blocks left on the floor by her son. Frustrated and in pain, she dropped the laundry basket, pushed a bunch of toys off the couch and sat down, rubbing her feet.
She looked around the room and thought “This clutter is unbelievable! The kids don’t even play with half these toys anymore!” She yelled for the kids to come down from their rooms to the family room.
The tone of the Mom’s voice had the kids running. Nine year old Emily came in first, her younger brother right behind her. Both looked worried.
Spotting the kids, the Mom took a deep breath, and then said, “Look, kids. This room has gotten out of hand. We are overflowing with toys in here – and you don’t even play with half of them! We have another holiday coming up, and people will be bringing you even more toys! We don’t have any room for anymore!”
She reached for a bulletin received from the church on Sunday. Showing it to the kids, she continued. “There’s a Toy Collection at the Church. I want you kids to go through the toys in this room, and decide which toys you’d like to give to a child who doesn’t have any at all.”
“Okay, Mom” the kids sheepishly replied.
The Mom continued on her way to the washing machine in the laundry room. When she came back through the Family Room, the kids were going through the toys. The Mom told the kids, “I’ll be in the Kitchen, getting lunch ready. You can bring the toys in there to show me what you’d like to donate.”
A little while later, Emily came into the kitchen with an armful of toys. “These are the toys I’d like to give for the collection” she said. One of them took the Mom by complete surprise: Emily’s favorite doll. Flashes of Emily playing with the doll everyday, the tea parties and adventures in the backyard filled the Mom’s mind.
“Emily, that’s your favorite doll!” exclaimed Mom, “You don’t have to give that away!”
With wisdom beyond her years, Emily responded determinedly, “I loved her while she was mine, and I know another little girl will love her.”
Tears of pride in her eyes, the Mom hugged Emily.
Author’s Note: A special Thank You to Emily (and her Mom!) for allowing me to tell her story.
© Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio 2011