«Mom, Mom!» called Justin euphorically when he got home from school.
«Can we go shopping this weekend? I need to buy new shoes! I saw some super cool Nike tennis shoes, and I really want to get them!».
«I don’t know, honey,» hesitated his mother, Laura. «Can we put it off until next month? I need to pay the monthly bills, and since you know I was on leave for a few days this month, I’m afraid I can’t oblige you this time.»
«But Mom!» protested Justin with a frown. «We have a school walk next week, and all my friends are going. I wouldn’t have asked you for new shoes, but the ones I have are pretty old and the soles have started to wear out. Please, Mom, please…come on!».
«I’m sorry, Justin,» Laura said. «I’m afraid I won’t be able to buy the shoes, can you give up the walk this time? I promise that when I get my next paycheck, we’ll buy your shoes first.»
«What, you can’t be serious, Mom! You always do this! It’s not fair!»
«Justin, please. I have a lot of work to do. We can talk about it later. Come over for lunch. The food’s getting cold.»
«Forget it, Mom. I’m not hungry. You can go back to work! I’m not going on the hike because of you! I HATE YOU FOR THIS, MOM! I REALLY HATE YOU,» the boy said as he ran to his room and slammed the door behind him.
Laura’s eyes filled with tears, but she said nothing. When Justin was only 3 years old, his father had abandoned them. After that, she tried her best to raise him alone, but no matter how hard she tried, it was never enough for the 13-year-old.
Justin’s classmates bragged about having iPhones, PlayStations and expensive video games, but Laura couldn’t provide those things for him. Once, when Justin wanted a cell phone and when she said she couldn’t afford it, he was very rude and aggressive.
Sometimes, he would tease her for making the same boring sandwiches for school and never letting him buy food to his liking.
It wasn’t that Laura didn’t want to give Justin a good life, but she had limits. She worked 12 hours a day and worked three jobs to support him. But Justin wasn’t able to notice his mother’s efforts.
Once, on his birthday, when Laura gave him a knitted sweater, he despised her «cheap» gift and the party she had lovingly prepared for him, so they cancelled it. She had saved up 3 months to do it.
That night, when Justin slammed the door shut. Laura felt very hurt; her son had often been angry with her, but he had never told her that he hated her. His words echoed in her ears all night.
The next morning, when Justin came into the kitchen for breakfast before leaving for school, he noticed that the kitchen was in disarray. Dirty dishes were strewn all over the place, the table was littered with leftover food from the night before, and his lunch box was in the sink.
«Are you serious, Mom, you didn’t even clean the kitchen?» the boy muttered angrily as he made his way to his mother’s room.
«MOM! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!!! Where’s my breakfast!!!», Justo shouted as he knocked on the door. There was no answer.
«Mom! Open the door! I’m going to be late for school!». Again, there was no answer.
At this point, Justo opened the door with a bang. As he entered, he saw Laura lying on the floor, unconscious.
«Mom!» sobbed the young man. «What happened, Mom, open your eyes, please!».
He ran to the kitchen for a glass of water and splashed it in Laura’s face, but she didn’t react. Worried, he grabbed his mother’s cell phone and dialed 911.
The young man could not hold back tears when he saw the paramedics taking his mother away. He returned to his mother’s room and lay down on her bed, teary-eyed.
Suddenly, his attention was drawn to a note lying nearby. She wiped away his tears and picked it up to see what was written on it.
«Monthly calculations: January 2022
Total income this month: $1500
Electric bill: $200
Groceries and dairy products: $200
Savings for Justin’s PlayStation: $100
Other expenses: $100
Net savings: $100 (I need to start saving to buy Nike shoes for Justin).»
«Mom was saving for my PlayStation? And did she even start saving for my shoes?». Justin felt terrible for yelling at his mother.
He ran to the house of the neighbor who had been left in charge of him and asked her to take him to the hospital.
«Could you take me to the hospital, Mrs. Calderón? I want to see my mom,» he said in tears.
«Please stop crying, Justin. Your mom will get better soon. I just got off the phone with the doctor and we’ll see her tomorrow.»
When Justin visited the hospital the next day, Laura was still unconscious. Doctors said she had suffered a stroke, which could have been caused by overwork and stress.
Justin felt deeply ashamed and wanted to apologize to his mother. Then, later that night, when Laura regained consciousness, he went to meet her with a card on which he had written a heartfelt apology.
«Sorry for bothering you all the time, Mom. I feel like I’ve been a bad son, but yet you’ve always loved and cared for me. I’m sorry for hurting you so much. I’ll try to be a good boy from now on. You are the best mom in the world, I love you!».
Laura cried as she read the note and gave him a hug.
«I love you too, sweetheart. Mom has never hated you for anything. Thank you for making such a beautiful card. I loved it.»
«I’m sorry, Mom,» Justin said. «I should have been nicer to you. I don’t want shoes or PlayStation, Mom. I just want you to come home soon.»
Thanks to that fateful day, Justin became a better person and a thousand times better son. When Laura returned home two weeks later, he organized a big welcome home party for her with the help of Mrs. Calderon.
In addition, he bought her a beautiful dress with the money he had earned working part-time at a restaurant. He also promised her mother that he would help her with her expenses so she wouldn’t have to work three jobs.