Giving requires kindness but it also requires wisdom. It can feel embarrassing to accept charity. Sometimes, it’s more important how you give than how much. Plus, how a person gives can tell a lot about them, if they are more concerned about the recipient or themselves. So when Evie receives a valuable gift in an old stroller, she sets out to find the secret giver. That is how she discovers that family is bound by love, not biology. This story was inspired by a reader of AmoMama, where it was originally published.
Misfortune After Misfortune
Evie and Leo met in high school. Leo had lost both of his parents in a car accident the previous summer and was deeply aggrieved. Many of his classmates didn’t know what to say to him, making him feel more alone. But Evie, who became an orphan at a young age, knew what he was going through and befriended him. The two became close and married soon after they graduated.
They both didn’t have many assets but Leo got a good job managing a factory while Evie became a personal trainer at a gym. When they became more financially stable, they decided to start a family. They were overjoyed when Evie became pregnant but severe morning sickness forced her to quit her job earlier than they planned. They didn’t think too much of this development until Leo got caught in an accident at work a few weeks before the due date. He suffered from spinal damage that limited his mobility. While the insurance paid for some of his treatments, money was tight, especially with all of the expenses that come with a newborn, their daughter named Daisy.
Evie had to rejoin the workforce much earlier than she anticipated while Leo stayed home to take care of Daisy. She got a job at a sporting goods store, often taking double shifts to earn more income. She became friends with her manager, Melanie, a woman in her sixties who knew more about sports than anyone else Evie knew.
A Stroller With a Secret Letter
One slow day at work, the two were discussing their shared interest in running, something Evie hadn’t done since she got pregnant with Daisy. Melanie had seen women in the park she frequented running with their babies in strollers. This led to Evie admitting that she was trying to save up for a stroller herself. But they were all incredibly pricey.
Melanie offered to buy one for her, as a belated baby shower gift, but Evie couldn’t accept such an expensive gift. So Melanie mentioned that one of her running friends had gotten a stroller for a great bargain at the flea market. She offered to take Evie there since her car had a larger trunk. Evie hesitantly accepted this offer. In the end, the two women made a day of the trip while enjoying each other’s company outside of work. Plus, they found a stroller in good condition for a good price. Melanie helped Evie take it up to her apartment, folding it and unfolding it herself.
At home, Evie was enthralled and immediately set to work cleaning it. However, she found a brown envelope under the seat cushion. She assumed it belonged to the previous owner of the stroller but there was no form of identification on it or on the envelope. So she opened it and found a note that read,
“If you are reading this, you are probably a young parent as I was once. I wish you the best of luck. I hope you get everything you need. So look under the channel drain next to the rose bush.” The letter concluded with an address.
The Treasure Hunt
Unable to stifle her curiosity, Evie set out the next day and found an old house in deep disrepair. A long channel drain went alongside the house, next to the wild, overgrown garden. Evie found the rose bush easily but she was unsure of what to do next until she realized the slotted drain next to it was loose. She pulled it up to find a metal strongbox wedged between the cement.
Inside was wads of cash and another note. “Enjoy all of this. I have found love and wealth in my life but I longed for a child. After years of trying, my husband and I finally had a daughter. But she died when she was only two, and my husband died soon after that. I still celebrate her birthday every year, and she would be around your age now, starting a family of her own. I wish you all happiness.”
Evie ran home to tell Leo the good news. As she told him what happened, they both had the same idea of who their benefactor might be. Evie thought she recognized that handwriting.
From a Stroller Came a Family
However, when Evie came to work, another manager was working Melanie’s shift. He told Evie that Melanie had left her resignation weeks ago; she was retiring.
Evie was stunned but she managed to get Melanie’s forwarding address, which was written in the same handwriting as the letters. Evie and Leo’s suspicions were confirmed. That weekend, they traveled across town to the address and knocked on the door.
Melanie was surprised but her eyes lit up when she saw Evie, who thanked her for her generosity. They hugged and Melanie invited them inside. They prepared and had dinner together and Daisy took to Melanie as much as Evie did. That is when Evie realized that Melanie was the closest thing she had to a mother, and she asked her to be Daisy’s honorary grandmother. Melanie teared up as she accepted, for Evie was like a daughter to her. Neither of them ever expected to have this sort of relationship again, but together they became the family of their dreams.
This story was inspired by an original piece of fiction that first appeared on AmoMama. Any similarities between this story and actual people are purely coincidental.