Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Claire's Birthday Roses

Christian is His Mother's Boy

Christian Sweeten and his mother Claire left The Other World and moved to Cloverdale last year. They needed a fresh start in a new place. Christian loves his mother. She is his best friend. She works hard to make sure he has clothes on his back, food on his plate and a roof over his head. He knows it isn’t easy. Sometimes he finds her crying after she puts him to bed. She doesn’t know he watches her from the stairway. Christian’s dad left them two years ago. They call it a divorce. His mother says sometimes bad things happen and we have to make the best of it. Christian’s stomach hurts when he thinks about his dad so he tries not to remember. It isn’t easy when he sees his friends with their dads.

Sometimes before he goes to sleep, Christian imagines his dad and mom are together again. It is a good dream. Some nights he gets scared. If his dad left him - would his mother also? When he has bad thoughts he takes his blanket and crawls into bed with his mother. She gives him a hug and kiss and says that he is her little boy and he means more to her than anything in the world.

Christian and Claire live in a small apartment near the village square. Cloverdale has been good to them. Every neighbor has been by to welcome them. Most brought home cooked meals and offered to help them get settled.

Christian's mother has a birthday in one week. It's circled in crayon on the calendar in Christian's bedroom. He knew what he wanted to give her for a gift. It had to be a dozen roses because that is what he dad gave her every year. He knew how to use the phone but didn't know where to find roses. His teacher showed him how to use the yellow pages to look for a florist. She let him use the phone on her desk. Christian called and asked the price of twelve roses. It sounded like a lot of money. His teacher helped him with the math. They discovered he didn’t have enough money in his jar. He needed to earn more. Christian thought hard. He could ask his mother but knew she worked two jobs to pay their bills and it wouldn't be right. He wanted to be a big boy and earn the money himself.

Two days ago Christian went to see Dr. Larsen to have his teeth checked. Christian likes Dr. Larsen. He is funny and gives him a toothbrush if he is a good boy and keeps his mouth open during the exam. During the check up Christian had an idea. He needed to talk to the doctor alone and waited for the opportunity. It came when his mother's cell phone rang and she left the room to answer.

“Dr. Larsen,” Christian asked while the chair was rising into an upright position. “Do I have a few teeth that are loose enough to come out?”
“No, your teeth are perfectly all right. Why?” he asked thinking it was a rather odd question by such a young boy.
Christian explained that in a few days it would be his mother’s birthday and he needed money to buy her roses.
“Christian, how can loose teeth help you buy your mom roses?” Dr. Larsen asked. The answer came to him before Christian spoke. “You want to put the teeth under your pillow for the tooth fairy don’t you?”
“Yes,” Christian responded. My mom is more special than all my teeth.”

Dr. Larsen was moved by Christian’s love and willingness to sacrifice for his mother. He also understood their financial situation and the struggles a single parent faced. He was one himself. He thought for a moment and then spoke.

“Christian, your teeth are all OK. We're not going to pull them. I have another idea. I spend all day pulling teeth from children that don’t believe in the tooth fairy. They leave their teeth with me. What if I were to give those teeth to you?”
Christian’s face brightened. He knew Dr. Larson would help.
“OK, we have to be careful and do this right," Dr. Larson continued. "You can’t put that many teeth under your pillow. The tooth fairy will know they aren’t all yours. So this is what we do. The tooth fairy knows I pull teeth all day and expects to collect lots of them from me on any given night. I’ll put them under my pillow tonight with a note from both of us to the tooth fairy.”

Dr. Larson took a sheet of paper and quickly wrote a note:

Dear Tooth Fairy. Here are lots of new teeth for your collection. Please don’t leave money. Instead, please send a dozen roses to Christian’s mom for her birthday. Please write “Happy Birthday to the best mom in the world. Love Christian” on the card. Thank you very much.
Both Christian and the Doctor signed the note. Dr. Larson told Christian not to worry about a thing. The tooth fairy wouldn’t let them down.

Christian woke up to the sound of the door bell on the morning of his mother’s birthday. It was early. The sun was just up over the hill. Christian heard his mother get up to answer the door. His smile stretched ear to ear when he heard her happy scream. He jumped out of bed and ran into the living room. It was the happiest picture he had ever seen. His mother stood in the doorway with a dozen beautiful roses held up to her nose. Dr. Larson was right. The tooth fairy hadn't let him down. His mother was the happiest woman on the Earth.

Christian loves his mother. She will always be his best friend and he will always be hers.

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