By about mid-day, he was carrying around a small wad of money. Not putting it in his pocket, or storing it somewhere safe, just carrying it around with him. I told him multiple times to put it somewhere, but he wouldn't listen. He liked that little wad of cash, and wouldn't part with it.
At one point, a garden visitor came up and handed me a clump of dollars: "I just found this on your lawn..."
That was the first of three times he lost his money. The kindness of a stranger helped him that first time. Luck helped the second time. The third time, it was getting late in the evening, the tour was long since over, and we were enjoying a fire in the back yard with a friend, exhausted from the day. The kids were climbing a tree and generally being nutty. All was well.
Until Cenzo lost his cash. It could have been anywhere. He had been all over the garden, including up in the tree, which hangs over into our neighbor's backyard. For all we knew, he could have dropped it into their yard while he was in the tree. His dad looked with him for awhile. Then I took a shot, combing through shrubs, peering into flower beds, aware that the sun was setting and we would be in darkness soon. No luck.
He was beside himself. He is saving up for an ipod touch, and every little bit counts, and the exhilaration he felt upon earning this money ($12!) had placed him high enough that the crash was killing him. He was nearly inconsolable, and not much help in the search because he was so devastated.
Meanwhile, my 5 year old, surveying the scene, was feeling very bad for her big brother. She had operated a cookie stand at the sale, and made a little bit of money too, around 4 or 5 dollars (cookies were only .25 cents!). She crept up to my side and asked me if she could give her brother her money. Touched by her offer, I assured her that she was extremely sweet but that we would find his money and she should keep her own. This is very in character for her: she is always noticing someone else's angst and making little offerings to ease the pain. She didn't want to take no for an answer, and kept asking me if she could give him her money. Finally, I told her she could give him ONE dollar, and I hugged her and thanked her and counted my blessings that I get to be her mom.
He refused to take it. He was "in the zone," beyond mad, feeling like an idiot, the very picture of misery. He wouldn't even give her the slightest bit of gratitude or recognition.
She disappeared, and I thought she had moved on to other, more appreciative audiences or at least to something more fun.
By this time, we were sitting in the kitchen, son and I, trying to strategize how we would redouble the search efforts in the morning. He was fiercely pissed off.
A few minutes later, Lady E appeared at my shoulder and whispered in my ear:
Mommy, I just went up to Cenzo's bed to put my dollar on his pillow for him to find later, and look what I found.
There, in her hand, was his grubby wad of cash.
Perhaps love heals all wounds; perhaps generosity heals a few, too. Thanks, Lady E.
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