As my wedding day neared, I went to the nearest shopping mall to find a gift for my fiancée. One of the stores I visited was essentially a novelty shop full of various sorts of statuettes and other collectible items from a number of cultures. I was drawn to the displays that held horse sculptures because horses were—and continue to be—one of my fiancée’s favorite things.
A sculpture of a bay horse’s head caught my eye—possibly a Thoroughbred. The eyes looked dark and depthless. Its black mane swept downward and formed the support connecting the rest of the sculpture with the base. The paint work was expertly done. I thought she would love it, so I bought it.
My excitement at such a great find was soon dampened as I exited the mall through the glass doors. The sculpture lay in a plastic bag that hung from one hand, and it happened to swing forward as I was moving through one of the inner doors. Part of the sculpture thudded into the glass.
Worried I had ruined the gift, I hurried to the car I’d borrowed from my parents and looked inside the bag. Much of one of the horse’s ears ended in a jagged stump. I couldn’t believe how incompetent I’d just been! Mere minutes after buying it for the person who meant the most to me in the world, I’d broken it! The store would have no reason to take it back—it was in one piece when I bought it. The worst part of all of it: they’d had only the one, so I couldn’t go back and buy another.
I drove to my parents’ house where I was staying for the summer until the wedding. Once inside, I set down my purchase on the dining room table, sat in one of the chairs, and put my face in my hands. I felt like I could never replace this gift or find a better one.
Mom noticed and asked what was wrong. When I showed her and explained, my face showing my disappointment and regret I’m sure, she took the bag from me.
Later—whether it was that night or soon after, I don’t recall—she stood up the sculpture on the table and gathered the little shards of the ear from the bag. With utmost care, Mom glued the thin edges of the ear fragments together. She worked late into the night.
When she finished, I couldn’t believe the results. If you didn’t look very closely, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that the ear had been broken at all. The only piece she had been unable to recover was from the inner part of the ear, which is usually in shadow and had been painted black anyway.
I couldn’t hold back an amazed, relieved smile and a hug for Mom. She had saved my gift from my error and thereby swept away my dismay. My wedding day would be that much more joyful.
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