Realizing the value of what we have

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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My eight-year-old granddaughter Charlie Marie never met a discount store she didn’t like. Whenever I’m watching her I know the plan – a shopping we will go. On our latest expedition she discovered an art kit. It looked like a briefcase, and it was filled with markers, colored pencils, paint, brushes, and paper. A complete little box for an afternoon of creative fun.

Our next stop was to pick up Charlie’s four-year-old cousin Emma Kate from day camp. When Emma Kate laid her big blue eyes on that art kit, it began.

“I want one,” Emma Kate said. While buying another one wasn’t a costly solution, Charlie immediately suggested another.

“You can have my old one. It has crayons and markers and it’s a great kit.”

We stopped at Charlie’s house and waited for her to retrieve her old art kit.

Charlie sat in the car with the art kit on her lap and stared at it as she ran her hands over the stickers.

“You decorated that? For me?” Emma Kate said. “It’s so pretty.”

“No,” Charlie said. “I’m taking the stickers off.”

“Just leave them on,” I said.

“But this one is my name, these are from AR program at school, and these are ones I just like. I’m putting them on my new kit.”

Charlie carefully opened the decorated box. Her hands and eyes lingered over those crayons and pencils, each secured in their own special place. She closed the box and looked at Emma Kate.

“You don’t have to give it away,” I said. “It’s yours. Keep it. I’ll buy Emma Kate her own.”

“No,” Charlie said. “I’m giving her the new one and keeping my old one.”

Sometimes we don’t realize what we have until it’s almost gone.

Ronny Michel can be reached at