Before we left home for the Labor Day parade in Chef’s home town, I asked my Plum to grab 5 large baggies. Full of questions as he went about his task, his patience for my hedging mixed with the chaos of three families struggling to pack for a day trip led to disclosure earlier than planned. I assured him he would need them later, during the parade when the participants threw candy out. I have been around long enough to know you don’t tell children about candy until it is time for candy. The hour drive and subsequent 15 minute walk to the parade site saw him clutching his bag, ready for donations.
Firetrucks, more firetrucks, more than I have ever seen, led the parade with sirens and waves and no candy. Plum tried to stay interested, he waved back at the first few and then sat somewhat dejectedly in the wagon, still holding his bag, legs flopping over the side. I assured him candy would happen. Finally I spied the telltale signs of sugar tossing: children running to the street further up the parade route. “Get ready, Plum!” He jumped up, energy restored, as did all the other children around him. Big pressure for the one person tossing. Plum got one piece. His bag looked pitiful. “No worries, more is on the way.” Soon another rider tossed some out, all the children grabbed. Plum was out-battled by the bigger girl next to him. Close to tears, he slunk back to his wagon.
“No, no buster, we aren’t doing this,” I told him. I told you there would be candy, there will be plenty of candy. We are not crying about something that is being given freely to us. It is for all the kids, you will get yours and you can share some too. “Didn’t Gran promise you there would be candy? Have I ever let you down? We have to be patient.” No tears, no pouting. Have some water. My best boy squared his shoulders, took a deep breath, waited. The candy came. Before long his bag was overflowing, he started on a second bag. Someone threw SourPatch candies, his personal favorite. He grabbed for them, another guy got there first. Then something incredible happened. The other little boy came over and gave the candy to Plum. The next round, Plum grabbed something and handed it to his new friend. Finally the heat and the overflowing bag convinced him he was ready to hit Great Gran’s pool so we walked back early, pulling a red wagon full of sweets.
I asked him later about the bags, about the sharing. He said it is easier to share when your bag is full. I asked him what if his bag only had a little and someone else had none, what might they think of his bag? He immediately understood that his little would be much to someone else. When pressed about whether he would share with them, his response was the stuff to make God sing. “Of course, Gran, I would share my little.”
We are sharing our little right now, our little that seems like so much to those receiving. I worry about money, I worry about how much more we are spending right now with our extra guests. This was not in the so very tight budget. Suddenly with no incomes, isn’t it wiser to hoard our “candy bags,” hide away what little we have, save for our uncertain future? But our little all came from God, thrown out to us not because we deserved it but just because we were at the right parade at the right time. I am trusting that more candy will come. While our bags may never be overflowing again I know they don’t need to be. We do have enough to share today. We have always had enough to share.
No pouting, no tears. A glass of water and a tootsie roll as my snack while I remember all the emptier bags. A smaller bag would have filled more quickly, seemed less stark with only a few pieces. I may be forced in the future to downsize, to leave my large home. For now, as long as I am sharing the space with those God brings our way, He will surely provide enough for all of us. It is hard to see the end of the parade from where we are seated, to just know that better things are coming. Fortunately I have the promises of one who has never let me down as reassurance. More candy is coming, be patient.