My husband, Patrick, and I took our two grandsons, Cameron and Maxwell, to Tim Horton’s last weekend. They wanted a donut, and since we are under no obligation to deny them anything their hearts desire, we obliged.
After they devoured their donuts, I felt eyes boring into me while I ate my breakfast. Soon there was a unified chorus repeating the word, “Bacon!” I quieted them when I gave them the rest of my sandwich, but when the chanting resumed, I went to the counter to buy another one. With extra bacon.
While I was waiting for the order, I became aware of a ruckus at our table and saw Patrick and the boys with hands full of napkins. The plates on the table were floating in an ocean of dark roast coffee; it spewed onto the floor and into my empty chair. I didn’t hear any screams, so I assumed no one suffered third-degree burns.
Despite no injuries, there was a tragedy. It was my coffee cup that toppled.
The polite young man at the register tuned in to my pained expression and gave me a replacement. By the time I rejoined Patrick and the boys, they had most of the mess sopped up.
Cameron related the story of what happened. He said, “Somehow the coffee fell over, and the top came off.” He ended with, “It wasn’t my fault. It was the coffee’s fault.”
I laughed and reassured him that I wasn’t upset. Then I told him a story about something that happened when his Dad was a little boy.
“We went to Dunkin’ Donuts, and on the way to our table, I upended our tray, spilling our drinks and ruining our food. Embarrassed, I said, ‘I am so sorry I did that. It was a dumb move.’ Your Dad looked at me and said, ‘But Mommy, it wasn’t your fault. It was an accident.’’’
Cameron said, “Grandma, Daddy filled your bucket that day.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, everyone has a bucket inside them, and when someone says or does something nice, it fills your bucket. And Daddy did that for you.”
I agreed he had done that very thing.
Later that day Maxwell spilled his apple juice. I felt some irritation knowing what it would take to remove the sticky residue from the boy, chair, and floor. But when I looked at his innocent face searching for my reaction, all I saw was a heart shaped bucket. And I smiled and said, “It wasn’t your fault, sweetheart. It was an accident.”
How has someone filled your bucket? And how have you filled theirs?
©2018, Stevens. All rights reserved.