50: The Greatest Blessing

50: The Greatest Blessing

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

The Greatest Blessing

We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.

~Neil A. Maxwell

I was raised by a single mother who often worked several jobs just to make ends meet. When I was fifteen, she started dating the man who is now my stepfather, and things began to get easier financially. There was no longer a question as to whether she’d be able to afford groceries for the week.

The following spring, when I was sixteen, a new family began attending our church. The wife, Melissa, quickly befriended my mom, and the children, though younger than I, became my pals. They lived within walking distance from us, and once school let out for the summer, I would trek over to their house to watch Disney movies while my mom was at work.

One afternoon, I was at their house during lunchtime, and they were gracious enough to include me in the meal. Their daughter, ten at the time, requested a glass of milk with her food. Melissa stated, “We’re out of milk, and we don’t have any more money for groceries this week.” She suddenly realized I was present and explained with a defeated look, “Money has been really tight.”

The family had recently moved to Central Pennsylvania from California because Melissa had been offered a good job. The position hadn’t worked out, and her husband had to take the first job he could find. They had uprooted their children and moved across the country, leaving behind family and friends, only to end up in a bind. I thought about our own circumstances just a year earlier.

Later, I trudged home with a heavy heart as I reflected on their hardship. I told my Mom about the rough time Melissa and her family were experiencing. “Do you think we could help them?” I asked. In response, she immediately flung open the cupboard doors and started pulling out food. We ransacked each cabinet, grabbing bag after bag, can after can—cereal, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and more. Then we tackled the canning shelf where Mom’s precious homemade goods were stored. We found a sizable box and packed it full. Then off we went to the grocery store where we picked up perishables such as milk and eggs. We drove to our friends’ house, made our way to the door with our box and bags, and knocked eagerly.

When they opened the door, all four of them were there, clearly surprised by our visit. As we stepped inside the kitchen, their eyes found the box, and the parents’ jaws dropped. Handing the items over to them, Mom said, “We just wanted to bless you.” They were speechless. Melissa then grasped Mom in a tight embrace and started to sob. Tears began to roll down my mother’s face as she held onto her friend, feeling her pain, fear and frustration, understanding how devastating it can be to struggle to provide for your family. I felt my eyes moisten and throat tighten with emotion as I watched my mother. Then I looked over at the children. Their son was beaming, and their daughter was sniffing away tears.

My gaze shifted back to my mom, and I was proud to be the daughter of this incredible woman. She was the one who had worked so hard to pay for the groceries that she didn’t hesitate to give to those in need. Because of her, we were able to share this amazing experience. What a great example she set for me that day! Though our intentions were to bless our friends, thirteen years later I still feel like I’m the one who received the greatest blessing: one of my most cherished memories with my mom.

~Savannah D. Cassel

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