The Case of the Broken Keyring

key ring letters

I left home just before 7pm, I didn’t start shopping until 8pm and the shops closed at 9pm.  I live 10 minutes from the supermarket by the way.

I was hoping to get a good couple of hours to do Christmas shopping for the kids.  First hurdle was finding a park.  A matter of luck really: drive past someone who happened to be leaving.  After about 50 near misses, I scored a park. I did a little happy jig in my car seat. Power-walking myself to the shops, I did another jig as I put my first selection in the trolley.  Good, good.

I waited in the long line to pay for my selections while planning my next move in my head.   Eventually, I got to the register, and I reached into my bag to get my purse. Nowhere! MY PURSE WASN’T THERE! I couldn’t believe it!  It must have fallen out of my bag in the car (I hoped).  So I removed myself, put the items back, and power-walked myself back to the car. Ha! So much for a successful shop! I hadn’t even started yet!

Yes, my purse was on the floor of the car, and so I started the trip all over again.  Even so, I felt in good spirits.  I love shopping for gifts for my kids, imagining the joy on their faces on Christmas morning.  I found myself looking for key rings for the children’s school bags.  They like to hang little things off the zips to distinguish their bag from every one else’s. I was in a small crowded shop.  A woman crouched down at my feet looking at something and another dozen or so people were hovered on my other side, all browsing.  I reached over to grab a key ring off the slide hook and one fell, bouncing off a shelf and falling next to the woman at my feet. She picked it up. It was broken.  “Just leave it there; it will be fine,” she said as she placed it on the shelf.

I finished choosing the key rings for my four and I paused.  I knew the right thing to do was to take the broken key ring to the counter and explain, willing to pay for it if expected. Usually I would do that without thinking,  I don’t know why I hesitated this time, why it even had to be a decision.  Doesn’t say all that much of my character, now does it. I was pushed for time and I didn’t want the confrontation to be honest.  I felt myself grappling….with myself internally.  Then I was struck by something. You know what I tell my kids? To be brave; own your mistakes. What would I expect of them in this same situation? All this happened in my head in the matter of seconds.  I took the broken keyring, waited in line, and then I explained; the woman at the counter dismissed it saying, “Oh, don’t worry about it.”

As a parent, part of my role is to guide my children through this life. And yet, I realise ever more how parenting makes me examine my own living closely. To counsel someone in your care you HAVE to be brutally honest with yourself. In that split second of momentary indecision, it was hearing my own words to my children that helped me make a choice I was happy with.  That’s important: making decisions you can be confident about, in the little things and the big things.

I wrote a post a while ago titled, My Kids Bring Out the Worst in Me and in doing so they bring out the best in me.  They do.

Kids are truth seekers and you can’t hide.

Words are empty unless they are lived in action.

Motherhood continues to be an instrument in shaping me, and I’m grateful.

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