Life Lessons with Monica: Making A Difference
Out the door, I sprinted the half block to my house, in the door, up the stairs, and went straight to the attic. This was a true moment of bravery, for I was outright terrified of the attic. First of all, we had had a bat fly out of the attic, landing on my brother’s face in the middle of the night, and the screaming followed by my dad frantically working to get the bat into an old Folger’s coffee can was horrifying (and it wasn’t my face it landed on). Secondly, I was completely convinced that the ghost of the little old lady who had allegedly died in the house before we moved in haunted the attic. There was a feeling up there. It made my stomach roil with nerves, my palms sweat, and my mouth dry out in fear every time I would look up the stairs to the attic. Every time except that Sunday morning. This time, fear couldn’t touch me. I knew what I needed to do. I knew exactly what I was looking for, and I was not going to worry about anything else.
Ripping into garbage bag after garbage bag, strewing old clothes, toys, and stuffed animals all over the attic, when I finally found what I was desperately searching for, my entire attic was a complete disaster. My brothers and I had gotten in trouble not a week prior and had to spend an entire day in the attic, cleaning and organizing it. Whoops.
My prizes in my hands I ran back out of the attic and headed directly back to church. I walked in with two stuffed animals in my arms, a grown one, and a smaller one. It was a mother duck and a child duck, hand crocheted and stuffed by my Grandmother who died two short months before I was born, earning me my second middle name. They were important to me and my family, and that was the reason I chose them. I walked straight up to Musa and asked if I could talk to him.
He smiled warmly and turned to me and said, “Those are very nice stuffed animals. Did you bring them to show me?”
“No. These are for you,” I answered as I held them out to him. My mom was sitting at the table watching the interaction and she came over to watch.
“Monica, are you sure? You know those are from your Grandma.”
“I know, and I don’t play with them anymore. She would want them to be played with again.”
Musa stood there, speechless. Here was this little girl who was all but a stranger to him, giving him what he had always wanted, and hearing the interaction, knowing they were special to our family. He had tears in his eyes, and responded, “Thank you, Monica. I cannot take them both though. Why don’t you keep one for yourself?”
“No. This one is for your little brother so you can play with them together.” He had told us about his brother back in Africa, and how he too had never had toys or stuffed animals.
At this point there were multiple adults with tears in their eyes, and I was feeling uncomfortable. Was I doing something wrong? It seemed like the right thing to do, but everyone was crying.
Musa reached out and very gently took the stuffed animals from me, holding them lovingly, as though they were the greatest treasures one could ever hold. Then he kneeled down, tears flowing down his cheeks and hugged me. “Thank you so much, little angel. You have made my dream come true, and that of my brother. I can never repay you,” he whispered in my ear.
I started crying and said, “You’re welcome. Please tell your brother I hope he likes his stuffed animal.” Then I really did run from the church to go play, knowing that I really had done the right thing.