My two oldest boys ~V and ~K spent 3 hours Saturday afternoon at a local mall selling their origami ornaments to help support the Vermont Food Bank.
I parked the car in the parking garage and while trying to find our way to the elevator we met up with a young family. They had a little girl maybe 2 years old, held by her dad and the mom looked at least 8 months pregnant. I wasn’t sure which floor we wanted as we rarely go to the mall, so I asked them if they knew. They said they were from Massachusetts and were just visiting. I of course told them where I grew up in Massachusetts. I mentioned how the boys were at the mall to sell their origami ornaments. I wished them a great visit in Burlington and off we went.
Wow, the boys were just phenomenal. I felt so proud of them today. They sat at the entrance to the Vermont Artisans and Craft Gallery and to nearly every passer by ~V would say “We are making origami ornaments to help the Vermont Food Bank” and ~K would follow up with “They’re $5 and $5 equals 30 meals”. They didn’t feel dejected when they were ignored or refused, they just kept going. When someone would say they didn’t have any cash on them ~V would say “If you have a credit card they can take it inside”. More than one person laughed and said what a good salesman he was.
I never had that sort of bravery, certainly not at their age and hardly at mine. They made $134 in those 3 hours, on a day when the mall wasn’t that busy (it was 70 degrees out today). I would estimate that they would have made 20-30 dollars if not for their amazing efforts. For three hours they folded ornaments and continually repeated their rehearsed lines.
I felt proud. There are many things Kevin and I cannot afford to do with or for our kids and sometimes I feel insecure about that, but this experience will live with them forever. The icing for ~K was the man who stopped and told them that he was one of the people they were raising money for, Kris just glowed after that and said “This is the best day ever!”. The impact of what they were doing became so real for him right then.
By the end of the 3 hours ~V was absolutely exhausted from folding ornaments and talking almost non stop. As we headed to the parking garage we made sure to ride the escalator, yes that is a special treat for them, and then into the parking garage elevator. As the elevator stopped at the floor before ours in walked that same family of three that we had met on the elevator 3 hours before. I couldn’t believe it.
I said hi and something about how weird it was to see them again and also mentioned that the boys did a great job selling their ornaments. I felt a tug on my heart so I reached into the wicker basket we had full of ornaments and chose one of the frog origami ornaments (the ones Val insisted we labeled with Fully Rely On God) and pulled it out to offer them, not expecting payment, but feeling like there was a reason we ran into them again. They wanted to pay and I mentioned that there were instructions on how to pay online to the Food Bank directly on the label if they wanted.
We got off the elevator and walked to our car. A few minutes later I heard a voice and turned around, it was the woman 8 months pregnant, running after us to give us money, she said she had found some and handed me 2 $5 bills. She said she knew it was more than we charged, but that it was going to a good place. I was so surprised as were the boys.
We got home and it was a whirlwind trying to get costumes together for a Halloween party we were attending that evening. It was a busy and fun night. We got back to our house at around 10pm and while walking up the front path, Kevin said “Oh wow look at this!” and on our front all glass door there was this:
a little orange FROG.
We were all kind of amazed at this little guy. We have seen frogs around and about, but never up on our door like this. To me it was the perfect symbol, reminder, and end to a very special day, where I got to witness two of my sons out in the world using their gifts with uncensored confidence and kindness.