Midnight Money Tree: Taking the 10:30 Courtesy

by Christie Perkins

“I can’t take this. No,” I said as I lay staring at what appears to be a 20 dollar bill.

I plopped into bed early, in fact it was an hour and a half earlier than usual. Who knows if the kids made it to bed tonight but I was exhausted and they would just have to figure it all out tonight. One night shouldn’t hurt. I should have gone to bed earlier but we had to muddle through the speedy version of family night and tack on the ritual scripture reading and prayer. I wonder if tonight’s thoughtless attempt really counted… I don’t really want to know.

(Yes, I’ll just close my eyes and pretend it’s all ok.)

The Midnight Money Tree Taking the 10_30 Courtesy(1) But, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep if we didn’t get that done for the day. So check, check, check. Immediately after getting our family night done I found myself snuggled up in bed. My exhausted body wouldn’t quite slip into dreamland quick enough though. So I laid there thinking instead. Think. Think. Blink. Blink. How is it that when you are most tired you are least likely to sleep? It’s a mystery I’ve never been able to figure out.

All the better that I couldn’t sleep, I suppose. I’ve been having weird dreams lately.

Anyway. At some point I finally found myself succumbing to sleep when I hear a peep. I jostle awake and blink my eyes. The hall light splashes into the room and I recognize the shadow outline.

It’s my 12 year old. He is standing very still.

He peeps again, “Mom?”

Oh no. I wonder if he is okay. Is something wrong? What’s going on? Is there a fire? Did someone break in? My mind races to all illogical possibilities. This midnight mad dash assumptions are learned in Mother 101 school. Wait… he is calm; patient. Check. Yes, nothing seems out of whack. But I have to double check just to make sure.

“What’s wrong?” I ask. Logic brings me around. If a genetic midget counterpart appears in the middle of the night it’s usually throw up or some night fright. Maybe that’s the problem.

Nope. Not tonight.


The 10:30 Courtesy

He quietly finds his way to my side of the bed. He hands me a paper. Is it a note? What is this? I hold it up to the light. This paper is all too familiar. It’s no ordinary paper.

“Mom. I want you to have this,” he said as he handed me the 20 dollar bill.

“I can’t take this. No,” I said. “We are fine. I don’t need this.”

“I don’t need it either Mom. I was laying in bed just thinking about you and I just felt…” he paused then chose his words carefully, “you and Dad just needed it.”

Oh no. My poor little guy was up worrying about me again. I wish I could take away his worry and pain. Honestly, there are good days but there are moments when the creeper sneaks into our thoughts and we have to battle them out. Tonight he was thinking about me again.

My heart melted into a puddle. I held this bill in my hand and realized this was everything that he had, or pretty close to everything in his money stash. I could not take this money from my 12 year old. No way. But a feeling in my heart entered in.

He needs to do this for him. He worries about you and your cancer. He doesn’t know what to do and this is one thing he can do. Just take it.

I don’t want to.

This was hard because I wanted him to spend it on archery supplies, or a movie, or junk food, not me. I wanted this 20 bucks to feed his passion and be a distraction from me. But, I couldn’t deny what I needed to do. I had to take it. This sacrifice would suffice him somehow. It would ease his burden knowing he was easing my burdens. Wow, this one was tough but it touched me. I tried to talk him out of it again.

“Why don’t you take me to the movie or something. We could spend it together,” I said.

“No, Mom. I want you and Dad to have it.”

Why was this so hard for me? To me it was a million bucks.

He walked over and reached his arms around me. It wasn’t his typical one armed half a second half hug. It was a full on warm embrace. He didn’t let go. It was, by far, the longest hug I’ve ever had from him.

My heart melted into my chest.

“Thank you, I love you,” I said as he walked out the door.

“I love you too Mom.”

My heart was so full. I immediately said a prayer of thanks. Thanks that my son is learning to sacrifice, that he is willing to be selfless, that he is fine tuning his compassion. Thank you that he is problem solving and listening to answers. Thank you that he is following his heart. This experience was helping him build character. How could I take away this learning experience? I would be a fool to do so. There was something greater he had to learn by me being willing to accept his offering.

I couldn’t deny him this blessing. No way.


Looking for Your Own 10:30 Courtesies

So, today I want you to look for your 10:30 courtesy. It will catch you off guard and you may feel undeserving of it. Maybe you know it is coming. But, if you are not careful enough you will be sleeping and you may not recognize your 10:30 courtesy.

Awake your senses to your 10:30 courtesies. They come from the heart. Don’t miss them, see them for what they are worth. You will be amazed to know that they are scattered all throughout the day. Today I found it in a simple hug from my 5 year old as I was filling out paperwork. You will find it in your teens willingness to talk to you (at inconvenient times… but do it anyway). You may find it in your husband’s effort to do the dishes or fold laundry. You may catch it in a smile from a stranger. You will see it in a text or phone call.

Take it and know that you are loved.


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11 thoughts on “Midnight Money Tree: Taking the 10:30 Courtesy

  1. There are countless acts of kindness all around us! IF we are looking for the good in others and God’s tender mercies in our lives we WILL see them! Thank you Christie for ALWAYS seeing the good and reminding all of us to recognize those little blessings in life that are often huge!

  2. I love, love, love this. Your story melted my heart and made me cry! What a precious family you have and what a great mom you are to teach your sons about sacrifice and being selfless and loving! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I learn a lot from you and your family. You are all such great examples to everyone around you! I love those genetic midget counterparts of yours. ☺️❤️

  4. Over the years I have learned from my “baby sisters” example how to be a good Mom. Watching you play sitting in a sandbox, or laying on the floor playing with dinosaurs, or being scared and screaming at a stuffed iguana causing little boy laughter over and over all while knowing the dishes, vacuuming, dirty toilets, dusting, etc. await. You are my hero!

  5. Christie, thanks for sharing your talent and the life of you and your family with us. We are inspired by your sweet spirit and thoughtfulness. Love you guys!

  6. Oh sweet Christie! I loved this story! Your story had me reflecting on my life and special moments with my children, as they became the teacher and I became the student. These sweet memories are painted canvases in our miss and hearts. Matt laughs at me when each day I say, “This is the best day of my life”! After reading your story, this day became the best day of my life!” I love you sweet Christie!?

  7. Christie,
    Oh. My. Goodness.
    What a priceless moment for you. Beautiful and so sad at the same time. Just reading this put me right in your spot and I was wondering how I would “take” this money if it was me. Not sure how I would. But you have given me courage to accept the “money” if that time came.
    I sure do love you and all your awesome advice you give us!


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