What I Learned from a Unicorn

One day when I picked up my 10-year-old son from school, he said, “I got you something at the auction.”

Each quarter the kids in his class get to spend the tickets they’ve earned for various tasks like keeping their desk neat & tidy, getting a parent to sign their schedule each night for a week, etc. We parents donate small items and little trinkets like pencils, erasers, party favors, Yu Gi Oh cards, etc.

Just hearing him say he’d bought something for me made me proud of him. Just a few days before, I’d gotten completely frustrated at his continual requests: Can we go to TCBY? Can we stop by QuikTrip? Can we go to Target? Home Depot? The sporting goods store? He didn’t say them one after the other, but still I grew flustered and finally said, “You know, I want a new car. No wait — a pony!! . . . No, I want a unicorn! That’s it! I want a unicorn!!!”

So when I heard he’d used some of his hard earned tickets to buy something for me, I was touched. It didn’t matter what it was; I was just happy that the thought of doing something for someone else had crossed his mind and he had acted on it.

While reaching in his messenger bag, he said, “I did the best I could. Things were going pretty high.” I smiled thinking of him budgeting his tickets, getting something for himself, figuring out if he could “afford” something for me.

“Close your eyes,” he instructed. I did, and when I opened them he was holding a lavender colored, Happy-Meal-sized unicorn.

Even when I was frustrated, my son had been listening. I oooh’ed & aaahhhhh’ed over the little unicorn, trying to hold back tears. I told him it was perfect.

I took it to work so I could look at it throughout the day and be reminded that my little guy was, and is, listening, that I don’t have to beat myself up about being a less than stellar parent. To remind myself that my guy is a pretty special guy.

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