A truly amazing thing happened last week. O and I decided we wanted to exchange some gifts that we received duplicates of. We do not know how it happened, but it did, and we wanted to take the opportunity before the wedding to exchange the gifts, so we did not have to worry about it after the wedding!
Our first stop was to a local store in Cincinnati. As I pulled up, O asked if he could stay in the car. I said no, explaining that I wanted his help to pick out the new gift we were getting. O agreed and walked into a store that I swore had nothing in it that he would be interested in. As I waited in line, O decided to walk around and see what the store had to offer. In it, he found the only thing that could possibly be interesting to him; a book containing all the maps of National Parks in America.
Back story: O and I love adventure. Even more, we love to hike. We made a pact together to try and make it to every National Park in America. Instead of taking family vacations to the same beach every year, O and I want our kids to grow up loving hiking, camping, and exploring as much as we do. We want our kids to see Earth’s beauty through National Parks. It is a tradition we already have in the works and one that we will continue the rest of our lives together.
Bringing it back to the store in Cincinnati. O brings the book to me and announces how we HAVE to have the book. I looked at the book and then him with excitement and agreed that we would not leave the store that day without it. I am next in line and the woman asks how she can help me. I explain the situation about the gifts and she reveals it is no problem to grant my request. She asks for my last name to pull up my registry… I spell it out very carefully, as usually people misspell it. When the computer pulls up my last name, she reads out “Ellen?”. My heart stopped. It was bizarre to hear someone say my mom’s name. It is not often that I hear her name these days…
I correct her and tell her my name, Sarah. She explains how the only name that came up in the computer system was my mothers. She goes on and says how my mom also has store credit from 2006, the year she passed away. I was floored. I had been in the store at least 10 times since my mother’s passing. I have registered there, where store employees took down my name. However, it was not until this day that a connection was made that in 2006 my mom had returned something to receive store credit, only having her life end too soon for her to use it.
I explained the situation to the clerk and requested to use my mother’s store credit, as I knew she would not be using it. In addition, I would rather use what belongs to my mom than let the store have it. The woman agreed to give me my mom’s store credit. I asked “How much is the store credit for?” where she answered “$60”. I looked at O, who was present the whole conversation and just as stunned as me, and asked him how much the book was. He looked down and looked back up with a huge smile and revealed that it was $60. O and I tried to keep our excitement down, but in the moment we realized what was happening. My mom’s soul was present. She was there, in the store with us, giving us this gift. It was the most magical moment of this whole wedding process, and it was even more magical because O was there to experience it with me. We left the store, and got in the car where I broke down realizing that my mom had just bought O and me the best wedding gift we could have asked for.