“Mother’s Day Mistake,” Friend, May 2003, 30
The next day was Mother’s Day. Chad wanted to give something special to his mommy. He was only five years old and didn’t have any money to buy a present.
Yellow-faced pansies bloomed along a sidewalk in Mrs. Dewey’s yard next door. Chad had watched Mrs. Dewey plant them. Her husband had died last year, and she lived alone. Sometimes Chad’s parents invited her to Sunday dinner.
Chad asked Mommy if he could go outside and play on the swing set. The pansies seemed to smile at him. He picked a handful and carried them inside.
“Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!” He held out the flowers to her. It didn’t feel as good as he thought it would.
A smile settled on her lips. “Chad, they’re beautiful! Thank you.” The smile faded. “Where did you get such beautiful pansies?”
He shuffled from one foot to the other. “Outside.”
“Mrs. Dewey’s yard,” he said reluctantly.
“How do you think Mrs. Dewey is going to feel when she finds that some of her flowers are missing?” Mommy asked softly.
Chad remembered how Mrs. Dewey had knelt on the ground, patting the dark dirt around the flowers. She had worked a long time planting them. “She might be sad.”
Mommy put the flowers on the table. “What do you think you should do?”
He chewed on his lip. “Maybe I could put them back.”
Mommy sat at the table and patted the chair beside her. “I don’t think that’s going to work.”
Chad didn’t think so, either. “I guess I should tell her what I did.” He looked at the flowers. They lay limply on the table, their cheerful faces already drooping.
He trudged over to Mrs. Dewey’s house and knocked at the door. “I picked your flowers for my mommy for Mother’s Day. I’m sorry.” He got out the words in a single breath.
Mrs. Dewey smiled. “Thank you, Chad, for bringing the flowers back and telling me the truth.”
“I’ll help you stick them in the ground again,” he offered.
“After flowers are picked, they can’t be replanted,” she said gently.
“That’s what Mommy said.” He brightened. “Maybe I could help you plant some new flowers.”
Mrs. Dewey’s smile bloomed like one of the pansies. “I’d like that.”
That afternoon, Mommy and Chad bought new flowers to plant in Mrs. Dewey’s yard.
“I’ll do chores to pay you back for the flowers,” Chad said. He thought for a moment. “I could do more chores for a Mother’s Day present.”
Mommy hugged him. “That’s the best present you could give me.”