Monday, November 27, 2006

The Gift That Just Keeps on Giving

Last year, in the first week of December, Kaelen and I were at a local drug store picking up medicine and your basic household toiletries. As we were waiting for our prescription medicine, Kaelen began playing with some of the Christmas toys that were on sale. You know, those toys that you press a button and it sings a little Christmas song while dancing. So, there Kaelen is dancing away with the toy of his choice, as Paul has fondly named: Doug the Penguin.

Doug the Penguin

Doug the Penguin provided Kaelen at least 10 minutes worth of entertainment while we waited, but Kaelen also provided other customers who were waiting immense entertainment as well. I mean, who could not chuckle when seeing a 15 month old toddler laughing and dancing away to a singing penguin?

Our prescription was done and it was time to go. Kaelen of course was a little sad that Doug couldn't come with us, but Mommy promised that we could come back and visit him again. You see, Mommy wasn't into the Christmas spirit quite yet. Kaelen was recovering from serious trauma to his mouth where he knocked out his four front teeth and I was dealing with a pregnancy that wasn't looking hopeful. I wasn't ready to be happy and celebrate all that I am blessed and thankful for.

As we got our coats, hats and gloves on we headed outside to our car. Just when we were about to open the car door, this friendly elderly man approached us and the conversation went a little like this:

Elderly Man: "Excuse me Mam"
I look around only to realize he is speaking to me. "Yes?"
Elderly Man: "I couldn't help but notice your son inside at the prescription area and how much fun he was having dancing to all of those toys"
Me (now smiling): "Yes. Kaelen loves to dance. He was certainly having fun wasn't he"
Elderly Man: "Yes he was. Your son was just the medicine that this old man needed today. Of late I haven't had much to smile about and just watching your son today filled me with so much joy. I hope that you don't mind, but I would like to give your son this gift to enjoy. If he could bring such joy into my life, then I would hope that this gift will continue to bring smiles and laughter to others as well."
Me (standing there stunned): "Why thank you. I don't know what to say. Thank you so very much. Would you like to meet Kaelen?"
Elderly Man (with such a fond smile on his face): "Oh I have. Your little boy's pure joy will ensure that I wear this smile on my face throughout the holiday season. He is a beautiful little boy"
Me (now with tears in my eyes): "Thank you so very much. Your thoughtfulness is very touching. Merry Christmas"
Now holding Kaelen in my arms, we say thank you again and wave good bye to this generous and thoughtful elderly man.

That Christmas, Kaelen played with Doug the Penguin non stop. And every time the penguin danced and sang I thought of this elderly man and wished that I knew more about him.

As we pulled out our Christmas decorations on Saturday afternoon, Doug the Penguin was at the top of the pile and Kaelen of course squealed in delight at seeing his dancing partner. Doug has been played over and over and over. So much so over the past two days that one would tend to get completely annoyed with the repetition of the song. I can't however seem to find myself getting annoyed though. Every time I see Kaelen dancing with this penguin, I think of this elderly man and wonder about him. We regularly go to this drug store and I have not seen him once since that day a year ago.

Perhaps he was an angel who came to brighten my day and remind me of all the good that I have in my life, or perhaps he was just an amazing man who I will have missed an opportunity to get to know.

This gentle elderly man's thoughtfulness is still bringing a smile to our faces over a year later.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats said...

I call those kisses from heaven. You must have one special little boy to prompt such joy in a complete stranger!

Jenn said...

Such a great story! Plus Doug is great.


goofball said...

Wow, fantastic story that really moves me when reading it.

Your own "chickensoup for the soul"

Amber said...

How thoughtful and what a great story!!

sari said...

i have a huge smile on my face, and a little tear in my eye as well.

beth said...

What an amazing story. So nice that you'll be able to remember it each year when Doug comes out.

How are you feeling and doing? All going well? When is your due date?

kate said...

that is SO nice. i'm all christmas tingly.