“I’m sorry,” she said with an exasperated look. “They can’t keep their hands off each other.”
“They’re not bothering me—I know what its like,” I said.
She smiled as if to say thank you.
Her pair of boys had stopped swinging each other around like airplanes and moved on to tugging at her. Not getting the attention he wanted the youngest looked at me—his Chestnut eyes and mop of curly hair winning me over right away.
He presented the Hot Wheels car in his palm and motioning toward his mother said, “I got this for her for Christmas.”
“That’s nice,” I said observing his pride.
He turned in a circle three times before presenting it to me again.
“I have something else for her too,” he said with an impish grin.
It didn’t appear to be a secret so I asked, “What’s that?”
“Really?” The intrigue was building for me now.
“I found it while I was cleaning my room. I’ve never found one before.”
“Really?” I asked again.
“Yeah it was amazing,” he said with another dance-like turn around.
At five years old this find lit up his already sparkling face like a ray of sun. He appeared to be a boy that’s quick to smile like my own penny loving son. I resisted the temptation to hug him.
“You’ve never found a penny before?” I asked.
“Me either,” his brother chimed in not wanting to be left out.
I looked at their mother for confirmation. She nodded in agreement so I had to tell them.
“I find a penny every day,” I said.
The pair looked at me with disbelief. It was as if I’d said I find a dollar every day.
“Every day?” they asked.
“Almost,” I answered. “In the last couple years sometimes my son finds them but I count that. He gives them to me like you’re giving your mom one.”
Brown-eyes lit up again.
“That’s amazing,” he said.
“Not really,” I said. “Pennies are everywhere—you just have to have the eyes to see them.”
You could tell he was skeptical.
“I bet if you keep your eyes open for one you’ll find another,” I told him.
“Really?” he asked. “Maybe I could be like your son?”
By this time his mom had finished checking out and it was time for them to go. The store was crowded. Target at the holidays is controlled chaos so I lost sight of which direction they went.
It couldn’t have been more than a few minutes later that I felt a tug on my coat. I turned to see who was trying to get my attention and saw the mop of curls looking up at me. Bouncing like Tigger he opened his palm to me. The Hot Wheel was gone and in it was a penny. His mother and brother were behind him smiling.
My smile grew as big as his. I stopped fishing in my purse and kneeled down to inspect his coin. It was shiny.
“You see I told you—you just have to have the eyes to see them and now you do,” I said.
With that he went bounding back out of the store holding his mother’s hand. He’d made my day.
Walking out to my car the word that came to me was “mindfulness”. In a nutshell that’s the idea I was trying to share with brown-eyes. If you’re mindful of them you’ll see them. It’s just that simple. I’ve said it countless times in countless ways, but on the cusp of a new year it rang truer than ever. People see what they want to see either for the good or bad. It’s human nature.
Inspired by this new member of my penny family it seemed fitting to re-commit in 2015 to the very thing I’d asked him to do—always look for the good, trusting it’s there if I choose to see it. It might feel foolish to do but often a child’s perspective runs circles around an adult’s. Little boys know this. I know this. How about you?