There are times in life when we are utterly distressed and disappointed with the way things go. And our distress becomes fiver-pitch when we have a bunch of ‘close ones’ on whose expectations we fall short.LoveWhatMatters Source: LoveWhatMatters
But for the sake of keeping the spirits up, we try to hide our distress from our loved ones by putting up a weary smile and an unenthusiastic effort, only to be fully understood by them in the end.
Idaho-based Ashlee Corrigan Boyson had a taste of such experience when she was just 11-years-old.
“I remember a Christmas—I had to have been about eleven—when my single mother took me aside one day and said, “Ash”—she probably really called me by my nickname SMASH—“I have to ask you a favor,” recalls Ashlee, who is also a mother of five, a published author and a murder trial survivor.
It happened on a one Christmas eve when Ashlee’s financially-struggling mother literally had no budget to buy Christmas presents for her kids. Heart-broken and shattered from inside, she proceeded to ask a small favor from the then young Ashlee.LoveWhatMatters Source: LoveWhatMatters
The best Ashlee’s mother could offer her on that day was simple and plain nail polish.
“I need your help, the only thing I was able to purchase for you was a nail polish, and this year I need you to be ok with that,” says Ashlee as she still clearly remembers the depth of pain in her mother’s eyes on that cold evening.
Despite being an 11-year old child, Ashlee was smart enough to have little faith in a Santa and a big understanding of her mom’s feelings. She simply consoled her mother by being content with what she is giving her for a Christmas present.
“Do not buy me another thing, if you have any money left get something for the little girls,” says Ashlee to her mom and referring to her younger sisters.
On the Christmas morning next day, a sad but determined Ashlee opened her gift and found one nail polish, as her mother proposed on Christmas eve. She was not sad for getting such a meager Christmas present, she was sad to see the pain her mother was hiding behind her smile.LoveWhatMatters Source: LoveWhatMatters
“It was hard to breathe as I choked back tears. I wasn’t sad about the presents, but it killed me to watch my mother go around trying to smile—I could see it all over her face . . . she felt like she had failed us,” expresses Ashlee Corrigan with an emotional tone.
But that’s when the real story begins: The family was busy doing chores Christmas morning when suddenly there was a knock at the door. The kids and the adults alike rushed to the door and upon opening there was a bold Christmas tree on the porch with wrapped up dollar bills instead of leaves.
Here is what Ashlee recalled of this unexpected and strange act of utter kindness:
“Tears filled my eyes as we picked up the little magic plant and carried it into our tiny kitchen. I looked up to see my mother’s face—it was wet from tears—as she watched us count what felt like a million dollars. We felt rich that Christmas—rich in blessings, rich in dollars, and rich in love.”
That incident left a deep and profound impression, not just on young Ashlee’s mind but the overall struggling family.
Almost six years after this blissful event, it was Christmas again! By now, Ashlee’s mom married a kind and generous man who treated the family with the best love and care a father could give. On that Christmas eve, Ashlee’s stepfather thought of a giving-back-kindness plan.
“This year we want to do Christmas a little differently, we want to give our presents to a family who needs it. We will give you a budget and assign you partners to shop for each of their children and we will drop everything off at their house on Christmas Eve,” recalls Ashlee of her step father’s words.
But there was one distinct thing on that Christmas eve. Ashlee’s new father had decided that none of the kids would get presents this year, but they would buy for those who cannot afford it. Ashlee knew well of her experience six years back so she was pumped about this act of kindness for strangers. Her method of locating a needy family was surprising.LoveWhatMatters Source: LoveWhatMatters
She reached the home of the people she was going to buy presents for giving them a fake research assignment to fill up a questionnaire.
“I had to meet the people we were going to be shopping for. These total strangers let me in their house. I surveyed the room. They had no TV, and I did not see any sign of a scrap of food. They had four little kids. They talked very kindly to their children as they filled out my fake questionnaire,” as Ashlee describes her plan.
Upon compiling all the Christmas presents on that Christmas eve, Ashlee’s family drove to the apartment of that poor family and silently tucked up all the boxes on their porch. Ashlee was the fastest of all the kids, as her step-father used to say, so she was picked to do this errand.
As she carefully put all the presents on the porch, she rang the bell and ran as fast as her legs could carry her back to the car. The family drove away to an unnoticeable distance where Ashlee saw the entire scene unfold from the wall of a parking lot.
“My stepbrother hoisted me up so I could barely peek my eyes over the wall. And there on the porch were all the presents . . . along with a mother, weeping so hard she could not even bend over to pick up one box,” narrates Ashley of the scene afterward.
As Ashlee remembers this incident today, she could not be more happy for she still remembers the sadness and helplessness her own mother felt when she did not have anything for her, except a simple, small, but very precious nail polish.
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