Our neighbor here has a boy a few months older than Alex. Unlike us, they have a ton of friends. These friends share and hand clothes down to one another. So, the first year we were here, when she found herself with more clothes than she needed for her three year old, she marched a bag over to us.
I was surprised that she thought of us and surprised we’d unexpectedly been saved so much money. There was a ton of stuff in there including two snowsuits. But there was one thing in particular that always stood out to me.
It was a Polar Express hoodie. Alex simply adores the movie. The Polar Express is a big deal in our house. We’ve seen the movie more time than I can count. We’ve viewed the movie in a “show” setting. We’ve ridden The Polar Express in French Lick to tell Santa what we want for Christmas. Finding that hoodie in that bag was just exactly perfect for us.
And the hoodie is quite magical to a three year old, seeing as how the trains lights light up when he moves (and it’s still machine washable somehow). Alex wore that thing more than any other piece of clothing in the bag and I was desperately grateful for something to keep him warm for so long.
It no longer fits Alex. But Evan has somehow grown into it (it’s amazing how kids keep doing this growing thing). He was delighted today to pull it on. And when I pointed out that the hoodie lights up when he moves, his face light up brighter than I could have imagined.
It’s these little things that stun me every day. Tiny unexpected gifts in a bag of free clothes. Just what we needed.
I’d like to end on not too sappy a note, so I’d also like to note that it’s the little things that often ruin your day the most quickly, like laying down to wake up your toddler only to find he’s wet the bed and you’re laying in it.