Candles

Author Joseph Murphy

It was my younger son’s 6th birthday. Things had been rough for a while. His mom and I had just split a few months before, my job had crappy hours so I sometimes went a few weeks without seeing him and his brother, and money was really really tight as the jobs prior to this one weren’t paying me enough to make ends meet.

But today I was getting my boys for a couple of days, and would celebrate Darren’s birthday. We stopped at Walmart and I told him to choose any one item for under 20 bucks. But only one so make it matter — there would be no other presents. We wandered all over, clothes, home goods, through toys, out of toys , into crafts. Okay, crafts can be cool. After a couple of minutes he chooses. Hands me a small box. It’s a homemade candle making kit. Makes two smallish gel candles. Lots of colors. Okay.

“Darren, are you sure? You only get one item, and you can’t play with candles.”

“I know”

“Buddy, it’s hot out, there’s some squirt guns, you can get a bigger one to blast me and your brother with.”

“No, this.”

I take it and we walk to the front of the store. “Okay bud, I said you could choose and that’s what you get. But tell me why. What are you going to do with them?”

“I’m going to make them, one for you and one for mommy”

We still have them, 20 years later.

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