A kind teenage boy comforts his grieving widowed mother by giving her gifts — and one day, he gives her the ultimate surprise — a new house to live in.
Simon couldn’t remember a time he didn’t see his mom sad and crying, not since he was a very small boy — before his dad was killed in a work accident.
That had been nine years ago, but it was just yesterday for Sarah, who’d fallen in love with her dearest Bryan in first grade. Nothing that Simon said consoled Sarah, so he started thinking up ways to cheer her up.
He’d bring her flowers and funny little rocks he found in the garden or a drawing he’d made. He’d always wrap up the gifts, and she’d smile, and her face would light up.
“Simon!” she’d say. “Is that for me?” Then she’d unwrap the gifts and hug and kiss Simon, and for a little while, she’d look happy. Then her sadness would come back.
As Simon grew bigger, he started doing chores for the neighbors so he could buy his mom little gifts and little surprises to cheer her up and make her feel special and beloved.
Sometimes it was a pair of pretty earrings, a book, or a vase. As Simon grew, the presents became more elaborate. “Simon,” his mother would say. “Don’t spend your money on me! You should be thinking about yourself. I know you want those special sneakers all the kids have!”
“No, mom,” Simon said. “Believe me; nothing means more to me than seeing you smile!”
“But, my love,” his mom said. “I don’t smile because you give me expensive presents. I smile because you’re thoughtful and loving!”
“I know,” Simon said. “But I think about how special you are and all the things Dad would have wanted to give you.”
Simon’s mom started crying then, and he had to hug her. “Thank God for you, Simon!” she said.
That was the year that Simon turned fifteen and got himself a job at the local supermarket as a packer. He quickly became good friends with Mrs. Damian, the store owner.
She was impressed with Simons’ hard work and devotion to his mother. “So, what are you getting for your mom this week, Simon?” Mrs. Damian asked.
“I saw these shoes she’d really like,” Simon said. “And I know she’d never buy them for herself. My mom never thinks about herself, only me, so I like to spoil her!”
Mrs. Damian smiled. “Your mom is very lucky to have such a kind son!” she said.
Simon was embarrassed and blushed. “I’m the lucky one,” he mumbled. “I only wish I could do more!”
“More?” asked Mrs. Damian, astounded. “But you already give her so much love and attention; what more could you give her?”
“One day,” Simon confessed. “I want to give her a proper house of her own with a garden. We’ve lived in a little apartment since my dad died. It’s all we can afford, but I know my mom misses her garden.
“She used to grow roses, and we had an apple tree too, so she would pick the apples and make jam. I didn’t like the jam, but I loved how the house smelled of sugar, apples, and cinnamon. I want her to have that again.”
Simon was surprised when Mrs. Damian grabbed him and kissed him. “God bless you, Simon!” she cried. “You’re a good boy!”
When Simon brought her the pretty shoes, his mom was stunned. “Simon, where did you get the money for these?” she gasped. “These are $800 shoes!”
“Don’t worry, mom!” Simon smiled. “I didn’t steal them! I worked for the money; I can promise you that!”
“Please, son.” his mom said. “This has to stop. This is too extravagant. We’re not rich. You have to stop wasting your money on me!”
“I’m not wasting my money if it makes you smile, mom!” Simon protested. “I hate seeing you sad.”
“I’m sorry, Simon,” his mom said. “I see that in my grief, I’ve been selfish. “You lost your dad too, and I’m the mother. I should be the one working to comfort you.
“I promise that from now on, I will work hard to look forward and not backward — but you have to promise no more gifts!”
Simon promised his mom he wouldn’t give her any more gifts, but two weeks later, he broke his word! “Mom!” he cried. “Come with me!”
He got his mom to drive him to a mysterious destination. “Where are we going, Simon?” she asked.
Simon grinned and said, “It’s a SURPRISE!”
Finally, Simon told his mom to stop in front of a pretty little house with a garden and a picket fence. “Come on,” he said, leading her to the front door.
He knocked, and Mrs. Damian answered the door. She had a big smile on her face and a key tied up with a big red ribbon in her hand. “This is for you, from Simon,” she said.
“What’s this?” asked Simon’s mom.
“This is Simon’s last gift to you,” Mrs. Damian said. “I’m retiring and moving to Florida, and because he’s such a kind, loving boy, I’m giving him my little house. He wants you to have a rose garden, and there’s a pear tree around the back!”
Simons’ mom burst into tears. “Thank you, Mrs. Damian,” she sobbed. “Oh, thank you!” Then she threw her arms around Simon. “YOU are the best and most wonderful gift I’ll ever have!”
What can we learn from this story?
The greatest gift of all is a loving heart. Simon wanted to cheer up his mother, but it wasn’t the expensive gifts that made her smile. It was his kindness.
To move past our pain, we need to look to the future. Simon’s mon struggled to overcome her pain and forgot to console her son for losing his father.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a boy who sees a lonely widow in the park and gifts her the dog he’d longed for. Nine years later, she appears at his wedding with a surprise for him.