By Les Besser

When a classmate bragged about buying a birthday gift for his mother, I yearned to do the same. I knew even a small bouquet would make Mom happy, but it cost 50-cents, and I had no money.

Odd jobs for neighbors netted me some money, but the day before Mom’s birthday, I only had 20-cents. Before bed that evening I noticed her coin purse on the nightstand. My desperation inspired me: I could borrow money now and pay it back before she noticed!

While Mom was ironing in the kitchen, I pilfered the necessary coins and wrote myself a note, “Repay Mom 30-cents,” and pocketed it with the coins.

After buying the flowers the next day, I eagerly awaited her return from work. “What beautiful flowers!” Mother exclaimed. “But wherever did you get the money to buy them?” I just smiled.

During the next weeks, I earned the 30-cents. I waited until she was sound asleep. Then tiptoeing in the dark, I located the purse and tried to replace the coins. My hand slipped, and the coins clattered to the tile floor.

“What are you doing?” asked Mother sleepily.

She thinks I am stealing her money, I thought, and my tears began. “I was repaying you the money I borrowed from you.”

“I already read the note in your pocket,” she told me. “You are such an honest little boy.”

Later she hugged me and told me a story until I happily fell asleep.