Guest post by Mary Novotny.
It was a day like any other. I was at work and had made my way to the main floor to take care of some paperwork. I walked past the water fall that is intriguing to so many, children and adults alike. It is not unusual to see people standing there, listening to the running water or tossing in a coin.
However, this time, the scene was different. I noticed a young couple and their two preschool aged sons. The mother seemed rushed and stressed. The boys, frustrated to be there to begin with, were being hustled along faster than they wished to go. Each parent had a child by the hand, more dragging them than walking with them. The younger of the two boys pulled away from his mother and ran to the fountain. “Mommy, can I make a wish” he asked. Without even turning around, his mother sharply snapped “NO, come on”! The little boy hung his head and continued on behind his family dragging his feet the entire way.
My heart was instantly broken. I wanted to run up to him and give him a penny. I was upset with this woman and wanted to override her authority as a parent. How long would it have taken her to let him throw a penny? I judged her severely. What kind of a parent was she, for crying out loud!
I could not believe how upset I was over an incident that took less than a minute to unfold in front of me. I asked myself why this was so important to me. The thoughts that came next made my heart sink even further. I wondered how many times I had done things like this to my own children. I was once that young mother, working full time and taking care of a family. I was rushed and frazzled most of the time. I knew then that I had missed a lot of opportunities for making wishes. I sat down then and there at the fountain and had a good cry. I cried for the little boy and his innocent way of asking for a bit of attention. I cried for my kids and all the times I didn’t stop to enjoy the little things with them. Most of all, I cried for me and all of the memories I missed.
When I got myself back together, I made a plan, actually a vow. I vowed to make more wishes. I vowed to make the most of every opportunity with my grandkids, my kids and my husband. The best part is I stuck to it. The very first time my granddaughter saw the fountain (she was one at the time) I gave her a penny and told her to make a wish and we threw the penny in. Of course she had no idea what a wish was, but she sure liked throwing the penny! We stood there until all of the change was gone from my purse and Papa’s pocket. When my grandkids come over, they “help” me cook. It takes twice as long and makes twice the mess, but I don’t care. I praise them and tell them what wonderful helpers they are. We color pictures, write with pens and eat in the living room (much to their parent’s dismay.) I simply no longer care if the carpet is dirty or if there is ink on the chair. My windows are full of little hand prints and I smile when I see them because I remember standing at the window with my precious little people watching the choo-choo go by.
I didn’t stop with the little ones either. I wrote a note to my coworkers and my kids telling them the story of the fountain. I encouraged them to take the time to make a wish and dream big dreams. The response was overwhelming. One of my co workers started crying and gave me a hug. Then, an unexpected bonus. When I sent it to my daughter (who also works in the same facility) she told me that I didn’t have to feel sad for the little boy anymore because his family happened to come to her department and when she saw his sad face, she gave both boys a cupcake.
Opportunities to create happiness and memories are always there. This Christmas season for the very first time, I am sending my daughters and granddaughters a formal invitation and having them over for a day of cookie baking. I used to look at it as one more chore to “get done” before Christmas, but this year, it is all about the fun. We will play Christmas music, laugh, tell stories and of course, eat cookies. I hope to start a tradition that we can continue to share every year.
I am truly amazed at the effect that the boy at the fountain had on me. It changed my life in such a good way. Making a wish means that you believe anything is possible. I can’t think of a better way to live. By encouraging someone to dream, you also encourage yourself. I believe God sent me upstairs that day for a reason. He used a little boy with a sad face to open my eyes and make an effort to make the day brighter for someone else and make memories with the ones I love. There will always be something to be stressed about, worried about or upset about, but in the big picture, will it really matter? Probably not when you compare it to the memories of days spent with those you love.
|I am Mary Novotny. I live on a farm with my husband. I am a Nana to 3 beautiful granddaughters (and have a grandson expected in December). I have a passion for helping people pursue their dreams. I love writing and hope to become a life coach. I believe that fun is an important part of life and I have an amazing sock collection. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org|