Four years ago things began to turn bad.
Two years ago things had progressed to really, really bad.
The economy had nailed us.
My husband and I have been self employed all of our adult lives……. a hairdresser and a custom cabinetmaker
And………. as the economy fell so did we. Hard.
Christmas was approaching in 2009 and I refused to let myself even ponder how we would provide gifts for our 3 boys.
They knew that money was tight…..something I wish they had no knowledge of…………….
They weren’t expecting much.
They had grandparents that would be buying gifts for them so I had to resign myself to the fact that we had maybe $150 to spend in total.
Not much you can buy for that…… especially when 2 of them were 161/2 and 15 at the time.
But I stopped myself from dwelling on it. There was nothing I could do.
Except, explain the best I could…………
Christmas would be a little different this year.
For a hairdresser, the holidays are a very busy time of year, so even though I wasn’t swamped with clients, I still had enough to keep my mind off things. Busy hands; distracted brain.
As we neared the last week and a half before Christmas, I was cleaning up for the night on a Saturday. It was already dark out and I was focused on getting home for the weekend.
While I wiped down my station and cleaned my brushes our owner came up and said, “Karyn, someone came in and dropped off 3 envelopes for you.”
“Who was it?” I was totally flipped out at first because whenever anyone dropped off any kind of envelope or letter at the front desk for me, it was always bad news.
That in itself is a whole other post…..suffice it to say my first reaction was to freak out. For good reason.
Our owner, Nella, said she didn’t know who it was but she described a woman and said she was a client of mine. Problem with that was I had a number of 60 something year old clients with similar coloring and haircuts. She told me not to worry…they had my kids names on them. It wasn’t for me…..
I went past the front desk on my way out and picked up the envelopes. They had each name written in the right hand corner, and I assumed they had money in them. Maybe $10 or $20……..times three that could be $30 to $60 out of someone’s pocket!
Driving home I was deep in thought. I couldn’t believe someone would come by anonymously and bring money to my boys. I was floored. What a kind thing to do and how timely it was!
When I went into the house I went straight upstairs to change out of my clothes. I sat on the end of the bed and pulled out one of the envelopes. I was very curious as to who would do such a thing. I’d tried earlier to see if I could make out what was in them but couldn’t see a thing. I examined the writing and that gave no clue whatsoever. I decided I’d just open a corner maybe then I be able to tell what was inside.
I felt a little guilty since they weren’t adressed to me, but I tore off a corner anyway.
And then proceeded to drop the envelope.
I could not believe my eyes. Inside that envelope was a $100 dollar bill. I knew each one contained exactly the same thing. $100 for Jack, $100 for Cole, and $100 for Chris.
I was in awe. To me that’s a lot of money to just give away.
To give away with out even wanting credit for doing so!
I couldn’t believe it! This would help so much. The boys had money to spend on themselves. I was so thankful and so relieved.
My eyes filled with tears.
I sat there on the end of the bed and took a minute to compose myself before going back downstairs.
Because we weren’t in great spirits we decided to forgo many of the Christmas parties we’d been invited to……so on this Saturday night we decided to watch a movie at home and have some quiet time.
We sat on the couch together for at least 30 minute before I finally said, “Hey someone brought 3 envelopes for the boys for Christmas.”
“I’m not sure. Nella described the woman but I have a few clients who fit that description. So I have no clue…………… Um, do you want to know what’s in them?”
He nodded and then said, “$20?”
“No,” I said quietly. “There’s a $100 dollar bill in each one.”
He looked me in the eyes shaking his head in disbelief………. each of us lost in our own thoughts.
I knew the fact that we were suffering financially weighed heavily on him even though the demise of our economy was not of his doing. As the man of the house he felt responsible for our situtation…..and accepting help from others was a new to him.
But neither of us could deny how much that money for the boys would help us this season.
The week flew by and Christmas morning came. There wasn’t much under the tree for the boys so they slept in instead of getting up at the crack of dawn like they’d always done in the past.
I’d kept the envelopes in our room until that morning as I’d planned to give it to them with an explanation of where they’d come from. We have another family friend who has always given them each a gift card to the local electronics store so we also had those to augment their Christmas money as well.
The boys sat on the couch and and I handed each one of them their envelopes. I told the kids the story about how someone had brought them to the salon completely anonymously just for them. They too sat in silence as my husband and I had the week before.
My oldest boy was the first to speak, ” Mom, someone did this just for us? And you don’t even know who it was? How are we supposed to thank them?”
“Honey, I know……..I know.” I breathed, still not believing it myself.
I was so thankful that they grasped the profound generosity of the gift they’d received.
Later that day as my extended family arrived the boys shared that story with their cousins when they came to dinner.
The gift was truly two-fold…………… My children got to go buy something for themselves That Christmas but they also learned the meaning of true anonymous giving. They will never forget it…..
Footnote: I did learn the giver’s identity. The woman turned out to be the mother of a friend of mine. She is a client that I had begun sponsoring 2 years before when she was unexpectedly widowed and had in turn lost her income. We have developed a very special relationship and a bond that comes from helping one another.
I was so glad to be able to thank her as that was my ultimate concern. What if I never found out who it was? What if I never got the chance to let that person know how much we appreciated that gift?
I’m so thankful I got that opportunity.