Last week I had an afternoon off from work and Mom asked me to go to town with her to get a Christmas item for Granny. We were at the mall and after we got what we needed, we started wandering around. At one end, there was an Angel Tree for the Salvation Army, with little cards shaped like angels with kids names on them.
We looked at the cards, Mom wanting to shop for a little kid. The ages on the cards ranged from 10-12. We finally picked the card of a 12 year old boy named Dominic, who wanted books. After shopping for him we started second guessing the sizes of everything we bought him. All of a sudden we're thinking everything we bought was too small. But then I told Mom to remember how small I was when I was 12. She thought about it and said, "hmm. okay."
On his Angel card was his shirt, pant, sweatshirt, and shoe size. He wanted books and Wii games (I was actually shocked at how many of those cards for kids that wanted video games of all kinds). We went directly to Old Navy and bought him a pair of pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and we comprised on the sweater/coat he wanted and got him a vest. At the check-stand we saw some video games and found a Wii game for Wipe Out. I figured that would be fun, so we bought that, too. Then we went to Payless Shoes and picked out the only decent pair out of three that were on the shelf for his size. Then we drove over to Barnes and Noble for books as the bookstore of my childhood in the mall went out of business many many moons ago. We walked in (soaking wet because the monsoon had evidently shown up a few hours before and was still going strong) and I suddenly wondered, what in the world does a 12 year old boy read?!
My first thought was Harry Potter. Second thought was, hmm, he's probably already read them or at least seen the movies in which case if he saw the movies before reading the books he probably wouldn't be interested. My third thought was, I really hope this kid isn't a Twilight fan because there is no way I'm buying those.
I figured most boys enjoy Science Fiction/Fantasy. So we went to the Young Readers section and started poking around. I found several books that I would probably enjoy. And I'm only about 20 years over the listed age range. Anyway, I finally saw a series of books written by Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, which thanks to some prodding by my blogging friend, Jewels, I absolutely love. We splurged and got him the five books that were on the shelf. While checking out, I saw a family friend of ours - or rather the friend's son - who is around 20-ish. We hollered his name and visited with him for a few minutes after we'd bought the books. We told him what we were doing and I told him about trying to figure out what books a 12 year old boy would read. So I showed him the book I picked out and he got all interested so I figured they would work. I had actually had a thought of finding a 12 year old boy in the store and asking him, "so what do your kind read?" But I didn't.
In the end, this stranger will have a decent Christmas with some new outfit complete with shoes, a new Wii game, and five new books - complete with a bookmark that Mom thought about while waiting in line at the book store.
It was nice to do something for a stranger, for a kid who may not have much of a Christmas otherwise. I know Christmas is a bit tight for my family and definitely for myself. But I have the ability to still help a kid for Christmas. As Mom said to me that afternoon in the mall, shopping for this little boy, "I raised my kid right. It feels good, doesn't it?"
Yes, Mom, you did. And yes, it does.