by guest blogger Deanna Cogdon Miller
A few weeks ago on a Friday afternoon I was frantically running around the house trying to finish the laundry, gather groceries and pack for the cottage. We’d decided to head out early and meet some friends for supper and us getting on the road was dependent on me getting everything prepped and into the car before my husband came home from work at 3pm.
As I ran around, my oldest daughter and her friend were out playing in the garage and chalking on the doorstep. They suddenly appeared in front of me in the kitchen and told me that they’d like to raise money for the IWK and asked if they could sell juice at the end of the driveway.
Of course my initial thought (that I kept to myself) was “no way”. I’ve got one hour to get the car packed, the baby is going to wake from his nap any minute, we don’t have any juice and it’s a Friday afternoon at 2pm, who is going to buy it?
But as I stopped, listened and took a breath, I realized that for the very first time my almost-five year old was asking me if she could do something to help others in need. Not only was she asking, but it was their idea and not prompted by an adult. Suddenly the rush of the afternoon faded and I found myself putting down the cooler, moving the bags aside and making room for crayons, paper and everything we’d need to make iced tea. As the girls wrote their “Iced Tea 25 cents for IWK” signs, I moved our little table and chair set out to the end of the driveway. We taped the signs to the table and came back in to make the iced tea. I found some Sesame Street Dixie cups in the cupboard and they were off to the races.
As expected, my son woke up as soon as they went outside. I decided to nurse him in the living room so I could keep my eye on the girls out the front window. The street was silent and I sat there praying that one of the neighbours would notice them and pop over for a drink. You can imagine my surprise when a huge Purolator truck drove by, slowed down and stopped. The driver got out and knelt in front of the girls with a big smile as they poured him a little Elmo Dixie cup of iced tea. I could tell that they only filled it halfway up but he continued smiling , handed them a quarter and drove away. Within seconds they were yelling and screaming and skipping inside to tell me all about their first customer.
I did my best in the next hour to get a few things in the car but more enjoyed watching the girls as they sang, danced and yelled at the top of their lungs that they were selling delicious iced tea for the IWK. I watched them sneak drinks for themselves and then giggle about it. I watched them re-arrange the cups so that the purple Abby Cadabby ones were on the bottom and wouldn’t be given away. I watched our neighbours’ cars stop by for drive-through service and I watched some of the older neighbourhood kids come and empty their change purses on the table for a cup. After every single customer, the girls came running to me with smiles on their faces and excitement oozing out of them.
When my husband pulled in the driveway I could tell that his initial reaction was the same as mine. But as the girls explained what they were doing, he quickly bought a cup with a big smile on his face.
Yes we were late leaving. Yes we changed our dinner plans. And yes, it was worth every single penny. All 477 of them.
Deanna lives in Dartmouth with her husband and three children. When she's not reading stories, dancing to ABBA or burping a baby, she works in communications for Bell Aliant.