This story is over 30 years old, and I often think of this woman.
A woman came into a furniture store I managed and said that she had very little money but needed a bed for her son. She knew the bed systems we sold for children converted over time into other bed combinations.
Still, she had a limited amount of money.
In fact, she needed to do layaway. Still, over time and with the help of layaway, she would one day be able to provide an entire bedroom for the son she so loved.
I could relate. I used layaway a lot when my kids were little.
So, knowing she had to start small, we talked about the least expensive bed solution. We looked at a trundle that would eventually work under a bunk bed, daybed, single bed, what ever she decided to do.
And all of that could be done little by little, with the help of layaway.
Then we talked about mattresses. She had few options, so she ordered a foam mattress, not a perfect solution but a short-term solution.
Next was the nightstand….so with little money, we chose the “cubbie” which would be low enough to act as a nightstand next to the trundle.
She was so happy and made a plan to pay it off within one or two months.
A couple of weeks later, my boss, a district sales manager, and her boss, the regional sales manager, came in to review the store, records, sales goals, and so on.
The company had been thinking of ending the layaway program. However, I believe the company had become too successful and only knew a portion of their customers. The bottom customers they did not need.
As they went through the layaway records, they pulled out the layaway form with the trundle, a foam mattress, and a cubbie.
They got the biggest kick of the fact that someone would ever order a trundle, a foam mattress, and a cubbie for a nightstand.
Watching the two of them was like reading a good bible story. The laughter that came from reviewing a layaway form for someone so poor they had to put a trundle, a foam mattress, and a cubbie on layaway.
I was about to die of heartache; I was so touched by this Mother’s attempt to give her son what she believed he should have.
And, I was not one bit embarrassed. I was, in fact, proud. And as they say in the south, those two women showed their rears.
Maybe they were never hungry, cold, or only had a few cents in their pockets? Never had to do layaway? Never had to do or experience a lot of things.
Sometimes the best lessons you can learn in life are what not to do, who not to become.
We all have moments of weakness and bad judgment, right? I know I do.
Andy says it reminds him of a saying: “Some people’s purpose is to serve as the bad example.”
The song below is powerful and fitting for the Mother in this story.
The Back Story
Until today, I never realized how perfect this story is for Christmas. To this day, I cry when I think of what the Mother needed to do for her son. And the two women in this story laughed at her struggle.
This morning while I finished the other stories I am posting, there was a nagging finish this story.
No, I thought, no time to finish this story, I have to go on to the others that need to be sent out tomorrow…..but I listened to the small voice telling me to stay with this story, so I did.
Next, there was a thought, this would make a perfect Christmas story. But, still, I wasn’t thinking too deeply into the story or other meanings.
Then while I worked on finishing the details, I realized (sometimes it takes me longer than the rest of you, hahaha) I was writing a story at Christmas about a Mother trying to find a way to provide a place for her son to lay his head. And be warm and safe at night.
Next, I thought, how will I find a song for this story? So, I did a very simple search, and the song in this post was the first song before my eyes.
And, this is the reason it is so important to write and reread your stories. As you tell your life story, what comes out are the things you never noticed, haven’t thought about. That ends up meaning more today than it would have meant yesterday.
As I finish this story, my sadness is no longer for the Mother but for the two women who never had to struggle.
The Value of Overcoming Adversity.
So for all of these years, this story haunted me, turns out to be a blessing.
What to Write About? Writing Prompts
- A time your heart was broken and mended
- A time you could not relate to others, and you are glad you could not
- Someone who touched your heart
- The love of a mother or father
- Someone who gave so much and took so little
- Your selling story
- Your buying story
- A valuable lesson you learned about comparing differences
- Similar to my story – Inspite of Adversity. We overcome.
Francesca Jirsa says