Gummy Worms and Friendships

Cameron, just a little red-shirted blurr at the other end of the field, responded immediately to my holler when boot camp was done on Wednesday. A few minutes later as he jogged towards me, he was waving something at me in his hand… something that glinted brightly in the setting sun.

“Look Mommy! Look! I can buy lots of candy with this, it’s a hundred dollars!” It was a loonie (that’s a Canadian dollar, just in case you’re reading from elsewhere and don’t know), so I kindly corrected him, “That’s one dollar, worth one hundred pennies. Where’d you get it? Did you find it?” It’s not uncommon to find small change on that playing field, but a loon? “Nope, Erin gave it to me!” First, yay, he got the nine year old girl’s name right. She’s been helpfully keeping an eye on Cameron while her mom and I do boot camp, but Cameron usually calls her something between Iron and Yronne. But second, wait. She gave it to him? Oops. She’s quasi-sitting a kid, and instead of getting paid, she gives him money.

Now, Cameron almost never gets to buy candy. I think one time I’ve allowed him to buy two five-cent pieces at the corner store. So this was BIG for him. I wasn’t sure about etiquette here though. Should I insist he give it back? But she seemed pretty sure of it, and her mom didn’t seem bothered. So I decided, what the heck, let’s see what he does with it.

I needed to buy milk and a few other items anyway at the corner store, so I set him loose in the candy section, with instructions to look at everything and think about what he wanted, then I’d help him fill his bag. When I got there, first thing he chose was four sour gummies … in a jar marked 25 cents. Oops, kiddo, that’s your whole dollar right there! So, okay, two of those. Now I explained, look, these ones are five cents. So you could get a total of ten pieces from these jars up here. Carefully, he selected, counted, thought, changed his mind, until he was satisfied and we filled his little bag. He handed the bag to the woman who runs the store, and then surrendered his precious loonie.

And she handed him change. The 25 cent marker was a mistake, she said. Those were just five cents each.

“I could buy more?” Cameron asked, and I quickly said, “Save that money for next boot camp day, after we get back from Ottawa. You’ve got lots of candy now, and this way you can have some for next time.” He liked this idea.

Tonight at supper, I can’t recall who had the idea while I was talking on the phone with my mom. Sharing with Erin next time would be a really good idea. Cameron agreed, enthusiastically. He likes Erin. She helped him not be afraid during a thunder storm, she takes him to pick blueberries at the other end of the field, and from what I can see across that field, she includes him in games with the bigger kids.

On the way to bed, he spied where I’d set his money, waiting for next boot camp day. “That’s my candy money,” he said, either to himself or his blanket. “Mine. To buy candy with. And I’m gonna share with Erin.” From his grin, this was a very good plan. He practically skipped into bed – hopefully to dream of sweet yummy gummy worms and fun outside in a park with a nice friend.

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