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Mommy’s in Heaven, and Daddy Doesn’t Know How to Pick Our School Clothes

Mommy’s in Heaven, and Daddy Doesn’t Know How to Pick Our School Clothes


My friend Linda related an experience over the phone that touched me deeply. It also reinforced that what may initially pass as a coincidence is really G‑d’s handiwork in our daily lives.

The other day, Linda was shuffling through aTwo little girls appeared before her and began chatting clothing rack in the women’s section of a department store. Unexpectedly, two little girls appeared before her and began chatting.

“Hi! Do you have any children?” the older girl asked, as her sister’s eyes carefully scanned my friend’s face.

Linda, a former elementary school teacher in her late 50s, was accustomed to such questions, although not from two strangers. “As a matter of fact, I do,” Linda answered with a warm smile.

Before she could say more, the younger girl took a cue from her sister and continued the line of questioning. “What are their names and ages? Do they all live with you?”

“Just my 15-year-old daughter,” my friend answered. “My son and older daughter are grown and live on their own.”

“We’re shopping for our school uniforms,” the older girl informed Linda in a businesslike tone. “We need two white blouses and two black skirts.” Behind the girls stood their father, nervously shifting from leg to leg, his face worn with defeat.

“Do you know where my girls can find the right clothes?” he asked my friend.

Without missing a beat, Linda offered to accompany the family to the juniors section. “If you’d like, I can help them choose outfits,” she said to the father.

“That would be amazing,” he replied with a palpable sense of relief.

Linda walked across the store aisles with two little girls in tow. Once again she felt the sharp, aching pain in her bones that she seldom let stop her. You see, five years ago Linda was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer that had metastasized into her bones. So far she has beaten the odds, not only through medical treatment, but perhaps also due to daily exercise, a positive mental attitude and a strong belief in G‑d’s benevolence and responsiveness.

Of course, she didn’t share this information with the two little girls in search of maternal support. It was enough to let them know that there are kind people willing to go the extra mile.

So instead of dwelling on her pain, Linda carefully refocused her full attention on the girls. Equipped with their names, ages and clothing sizes, my friend set out in search of a few becoming outfits. Their father waited patiently outside as Linda brought outfits into the dressing room for the sisters. “If you like, I can stand outside, and when you’re changed, you can do a fashion show for me,” Linda told them.

“We used to do that for our mommy,” said the 7-year-old, as she grabbed my friend’s hand.

“Our mommy died of cancer last year, and my daddy doesn’t know about girl things.”

There it was. Two sisters who lost their mother had found support from a woman struck with the same disease. She was choked with emotion, thinking of her own children. She gathered a deep breath and found the strength to smile as the“Can we give you a hug?” the girls asked, almost simultaneously girls eagerly modeled their new clothes. “You look especially pretty in this outfit,” she said encouragingly. “It fits you so well.”

Perhaps the sisters sensed my friend’s emotion. Perhaps they were simply grateful.

“Can we give you a hug?” the girls asked, almost simultaneously.

“I’d love a hug,” replied my friend.

The outfits purchased, the father thanked Linda many times over before the trio left the store.

Linda pored over the experience inwardly. Things had not always gone smoothly with her teenage daughter. Lately, they had forged a stronger bond. But she hadn’t realized just how strong it was until she shared her department store story with Sara.

While Linda hadn’t expected Sara to cry, she understood the tears and held her daughter close.

In the middle of the night Sara woke her mother. “I don’t tell you enough, but I get so much from you that I’ll always carry with me. I’m just so happy that you’re my mom.”

G‑d’s handiwork, indeed.

Nancy K.S. Hochman is a freelance journalist and essayist, a creative writing teacher and an admission essay writing coach. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Child, Seventeen Magazine, Hadassah Magazine, B’Nai B’rith Jewish Monthly, Na’amat Woman and many other publications.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Moshe Borowski Far Rockaway August 21, 2017

as a social worker who has worked w seriously/terminally ill children and parents, the only thing I can say is "Wow!" Reply

Sophia Forest Hills, NY November 17, 2017

Such a beautiful heart-warming story!!!! Reply

Marin Tomuta Fullerton August 28, 2017

Indeed. Read like a novel. Reply

Zohar Sasson Brooklyn August 27, 2017

Nancy, Please give your friend a big Thank You hug for being one of the "kind people willing to go the extra mile..." May G-d repay her in kind and heal her immediately and completely!!!
And thank you Nancy for using your awesome talent to convey the beauty of the human heart and spirit. Reply

Samantha Leon August 24, 2017

What a sweet anecdote. Reply

Leah Lapidus August 24, 2017

My mother also had breast cancer which became bone cancer. She also got sick in her late 50s, and passed away many years ago. If you send me Linda'S Hebrew name, I would be happy to daven for her refuah. Reply

Nancy Long Beach, NY August 30, 2017
in response to Leah Lapidus:

Thank you, Leah, and thanks for the kind comments to each of you who posted. My friend is, of late, facing additional complications. 'Linda's' Hebrew name is Leah bas Sarah. Toda Rabba, and kindest regards, Nancy Reply

Amy santa monica August 24, 2017

My good day was I had a really good lunch that my mom made, the bad part was all my friends wanted to eat my food lovely to hear this story. Filled hearts all around by offering help. Imagine if we all lived in a way that we offer to help with clothes, food shopping ,sharing recipes, family pets, child care. teaching the family a special tradition you do and then they could enjoy it as well. So much to teach and learn, when my children we growing up we played good day bad day, You only had to say one thing that made your day good and one bad thing, A full conversatiion will happen without it being odd and uncomfortable, of course some subjects can feel awkward but if you express and share it will work out. even bring comfort and help

odd and uncomfortable.always ends in meaning full talks. Reply

Bracha Goetz Baltimore August 22, 2017

Wonderful! Reply

Rochel Leah Kosofsky Longmeadow August 21, 2017

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Reply

S U.K. August 21, 2017

Tears of love and compassion are sent across the miles, the easiest task is a daily smile. Thank you, fort sharing this wonderful encounter. Reply