Dear Jo: Second-Hand Happiness

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June 3, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

Summer is nearly here. How do you know? Because it’s garage sale season.

Dear Jo: Second-Hand Happiness

This morning when you opened the living room curtains, you saw the neon sign in the corner of the yard. So after everyone was fed, you decided to go for a walk in search of the sale. It was just a few blocks away and as the woman who ran the sale ohh-ed and ahh-ed over Lyla, Emerson fell in love. It wasn’t the just-his-size basketball hoop or the completely decked out plastic tool bench that caught his affection. From the moment he saw it at the sale, he ran to it, grabbed it and didn’t want to let it go. Being the generous parent you are, you decided that your son deserved this gift. So with great delight you conjured up the 50 cents that was required to purchase him a well-used, pink and purple shopping cart. Yes, a shopping cart.

He proudly pushed his cart along as you walked away from the sale, struggling to navigate the bumpy sidewalk. You offered to lend him a hand a few times, but this prize being so precious to him, he refused your assistance and instead insisted on doing it himself. This was HIS shopping cart, HIS treasure. He wanted no one else to touch it. As you walked along, you noticed something you hadn’t before. The handle on the cart was cracked on one side and looked as though it would give way at any minute. You thought to yourself, “Well, it was only 50 cents. At least it will keep him occupied for a few minutes until it finally breaks.”

Turns out, it has lasted longer than a few minutes. He left it beside his bed during nap time and even put Bluey inside it instead of cuddling him in his arms. When he woke, he rediscovered this new treasure, lighting up as he saw the nearly broken cart holding Bluey and waiting for the next journey around the house (much to Arnold’s chagrin, as he is often the target for the cart’s adventures).

So far, the cheap plastic has withheld the use and abuse and has not given way. And much to your surprise, his excitement in the cart has not yet waned either.

Watching him with this cracked 50-cent toy makes you wonder: why is it you spend so much on expensive items that light up, make noise and pretty much just annoy when something so simple can satisfy them? I guess in desiring to be good parents, we want to fill their lives with things that will make them happy. But we often forget that happiness can come from those little, unexpected things like a cracked, pink and purple shopping cart with a 50-cent price tag.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom

“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


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Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©elenarostunova –}

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