My wife was running errands last week. Nothing too big, just 5 different stores with a 5 year old and 1 year old in tow. Easy day. Everyone reading who has kids of that age or had kids of that age can understand the sarcasm in that statement.

One of their last errands was to pick up a gift for a family baptism we had coming up. Finally making it to the cashier through a long and slow line, my wife was told that the credit card reader was not working and they could only take cash. Cash? Not something my wife carries anymore in the day of debit and credit cards leading to a quicker exit from the store with the boys.

After some discussion about ATMs, my wife decided she would just come back another time. At this time the lady behind her stepped forward and asked how much it was (around $30) and offered to pay. My wife kindly refused the offer as she couldn’t accept that amount from a stranger. To that, this stranger responded that she desired to pay it and that in doing so she wanted to share it as a reminder to my wife to cherish our boys. This lady, a mother had recently lost her son within the last year, a boy, less than a teenager.

As she explained this and offered her instruction to always cherish our boys regardless of how trying they sometimes are, my wife could think of nothing else, but to hug this individual and start to cry. At that, the mother began to cry as well as her teenage daughter and the cashier. I could only imagine the scene and think of what everyone else in the store was thinking as this unfolded without the words to understand the actions or meaning behind it. I don’t break out in tears often (the end of the movie Rudy aside), but I could only imagine being there and filled with the emotion and reminder of how unpredictable and sometimes unfair life seems to be.

My wife told me this story and choked up as she relayed the events again. This mother’s actions served their purpose to remind us both of the important things in life and to pay it forward to remind others that every day is tough and sometimes we forget what really matters. No one has an exact and known timeline so enjoy each day and remember those children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents and others around you each moment you have them.