Shortly after our move, we started preparing for our yearly getaway to Gatlinburg, TN. On the front end of this trip we planned to celebrate Samuel's 9th birthday at Dale and Kirsten's house in Charlotte. We flew into Charlotte on July 3rd and were able to spend a morning with Dale, Kirsten and the kids before they headed off to Florida and left us in charge of their house and pool for the weekend. Greg's mom, dad and grandmother joined us there and helped us plan and execute a great party on the 4th to celebrate Samuel's 9 years. Samuel had been bursting with the anticipation of seeing his Charlotte friends again. Getting to spend the day with them was truly the greatest present he could have gotten.
The weather was beautiful and almost everyone on our guest list was able to make it. The kids needed no more than the pool and each other to have a great time. It was great getting to spend some time with old friends. Because of Kirsten and Dale's hospitality we had everything we needed and all the comforts of home.
We are very proud of our boy. It is such a joy to watch him grow physically as well as spiritually. Since I am writing this well after his birthday occurred....yes, I am attempting to catch-up on some blogging...I will share with you what I am sure will become a favorite 'Samuel story' for us.
A bit of background:
Samuel received a wallet from his dear friend Hudson in Matthews this past birthday. Hudson put a bit of cash in the wallet. That added to the other money friends and family had given him for his birthday made quite a healthy stash for a boy of nine! While we were in Gatlinburg, Samuel tried to pay our trolley fares. He got to the front of the line of our family and as he approached the trolley driver, with his back to the rest of us, proceeded to whip out his wallet, turn his head to the side with his left hand raised and announced, “I got it.”.
My little man.
Samuel is an extraordinarily generous person. I can't even tell you how many times he has offered to pay for something his sister wanted...even offering up his whole allowance on at least two known occasions. He is incredibly sensitive to the needs and wants of others. He isn't just generous with his money. Before he takes a bite of whatever delectable treat he might get his hands on from time to time, his first concern is whether or not I can have it (if it's gluten-free). He wants to be able to share his treats with me. He's not stingy either....if I asked for his whole ice-cream cone I know he'd give it to me. (I have no plans to test this theory but feel sure of it nonetheless).
A couple of weeks ago, when Elaine and Julianna were visiting, we took a trip downtown to the Chinese Gardens. Afterwards we got dinner at Baja Fresh just around the corner from the famous Powell's Book Store. There was a weary and worn looking homeless girl with her dog sitting outside Powell's with a sign in hand explaining her worldly troubles. Her dog was really cute.....scruffy but totally cute. Elaine, Julianna and Sarah Grace stopped to admire the dog. Greg and I were just trying to usher everyone towards the restaurant. I looked back to see that the others were finally on their way, but one lingered. I saw the unmistakable profile of my son in his beloved FBI baseball cap standing over the girl. I watched him pull his wallet from his pocket and hand her a dollar from it. It was just a dollar and yet it's significance trumped anything the rest of us had thought to do for her. When he joined us we naturally praised him for his generosity. He simply explained that he had read her sign and she had troubles. She was hungry.
She came into the Baja Fresh we were eating at and bought a drink (they had 99 cent drinks) after washing her hair in the restaurant's bathroom. Samuel was overjoyed to think that he had been able to pay for her drink. We passed her again as we walked back to the van past Powell's. She thanked us and spoke of how kind and generous our children are.
I left that scene reflecting on yet another lesson that one of my kids was teaching me.