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April Jeppson: Love shown through purchasing shoes

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I wrote about my mother a few weeks ago when she came down for a few days and helped me get some of my house in order. Did I mention how glorious it was? Not just to have an extra set of hands pitching in where needed (without me having to ask), but to just have my mom around.

April Jeppson

There was one day in particular that sticks out. I came home a little early to sneak in some one-on-one time with her before I headed back to work. We were in the family room and she had piles of children’s clothes spread across the floor. I sat down to join the fold-and-sort party, and we just talked. It felt so good to just talk and share with my mom.

As we were talking about my job and my life and the kids growing so fast, she showed me a pair of pants that I knew were slightly too small for anyone in my home. Without hesitation, I told her to donate them. Then it hit me. It was only a few years ago that I would have hung on to those pants because my youngest might be able to milk a few more weeks of wear out of them.

My kids were and still are leaving the house wearing clothes that probably have too many holes or stains for most parents to find acceptable. But they don’t have to. I was so strapped for cash for so long that it is almost ingrained in me to see if I can get a little more use or wear out of most of the things in my house. Because when you don’t have money to replace something, you can’t throw the tattered item away. You have to make due until you can afford the replacement.

I was telling my mom about how my oldest grew out of his shoes, and I had to buy him a pair in January.

I was able to buy my kid shoes.

They were not on sale. They weren’t kids shoes, but adult, expensive shoes. This was right after Christmas when traditionally money would have been extra tight. Without a pause, I said, “OK, let’s get you some new shoes.” As I was telling her the story (and as I type this) my eyes welled up with tears of joy. My mother purchased all of my children shoes every year. I simply couldn’t afford all the back-to-school expenses. So for me to be able to afford an unbudgeted pair of shoes for my child and not have to ask for help — I can’t fully express the level of gratitude that I feel.

I’m still weirdly frugal about stuff I suppose I don’t have to be, but I’m OK with that. I’ll probably be that grandma who collects cool whip containers for her leftovers, even though I can afford Tupperware. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with those whip topping containers — it’s a shame to just toss them.

“The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.” — James E Faust

The more I talked to my mom about how far I’ve come, the harder I sobbed. I hugged her as she cradled me, and I thanked her for helping me for all these years. She cried, too, as she said how proud she was of me and how happy she was to help.

I am so thankful for my mother and the unwavering support she has given me and my family for all these years. Mom, you’ve spent the last 40 years supporting me, and I look forward to trying my best to return the favor. I love you. Now let’s go get you a new pair of shoes.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.

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