December 30, 2009 Leave a comment
Find a penny, pick it up;
All the day you’ll have good luck.
I’ve enjoyed this superstition since I was a child and taught it to my child, but I never seriously believed it was true. The real reason I pick up coins I find on the ground is that they’re money, and I figure every little bit adds up. Still, the idea that finding a penny brings good luck gives me a little blip of optimism.
I think my son, who just turned five, sees it about the same way. He’s very logical, and although he loves stories about magical adventures and talking animals, he doesn’t believe in the literal existence of things like Santa Claus. He doesn’t quite understand how money works yet, but he likes coins and always wants to play with them and put them in his banks, so he picks up any that he finds and often remarks cheerfully, “It’s good luck!”
On our way home from church Sunday afternoon, we stopped into the supermarket for a few things, and we found not only a penny but also a dime on the floor. I saw them first but let Nicholas pick them up. We walked on toward home (down the steep hill of our neighborhood business district) singing about pennies and good luck and bagels and such, feeling lucky.
All of a sudden, Nicholas tripped and fell, smashing his face into the projecting corner of a store’s windowsill.
There followed one of those moments of shocked and dreadful silence in which time slows down and holds its breath before the screaming begins. It was exactly long enough for me to drop into a crouch on the sidewalk and to think, “I am not afraid.” I actually felt kind of like Frog and Toad in the story where they dodge several hazards while shrieking hysterically, “We are not afraid!” and run home to hide in the closet “feeling very brave together”–but I hoped that this Jedi mind trick would help me to cope with what I would see when my beautiful baby boy turned around. Read more…