Sarah Stultz: What can we do to make today matter?

Published 10:00 pm Monday, November 6, 2017

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

I love it when I’m going about my day, and all of a sudden, something out of the blue reminds me of my daughter and takes my breath away.

My daughter died about a year and four months ago, and it’s my personal opinion that these little reminders are her way of telling us she’s watching out for us from the other side. Sometimes the reminders make me smile; sometimes they make me cry. But, nonetheless, I am grateful I get them.

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I had one of these experiences Friday night. I was with my son, Landon, and after stopping to pick up some groceries, we decided to pick up some dinner from Wendy’s to bring home to eat.

Landon, of course, wanted a kids meal, and was most interested in checking out the toy before he even took a bite out of his hamburger.

Instead of offering figurines from the latest movies, Wendy’s in recent months has given out games to play or toys that require some thought to put together and spark some creativity.

I opened the box of the toy, interested to see what was inside. Inside were a foundation of a building and four walls to put up for a little square-shaped building labeled as a candy store. The outside of the building looked like brick. The inside on some of the walls looked like it had candy for sale, while other walls had images that looked like you were in a candy-making factory.

My mind immediately thought of my daughter, Sophie, who from a young age when asked by her teachers what she wanted to be when she grew up, responded that she wanted to be a candymaker.

In one grade — I believe it might have been kindergarten — she and her classmates learned about the roles of creating a book and made one with each student getting a page to write and illustrate what they wanted to be when they grew up. There was a variety of answers, and in the middle was Sophie’s answer of being a candymaker. I thought she would have matured from that answer, but for the next three years, I would see that candymaker answer pop up again and again on things.

I couldn’t help but smile as this funny memory passed through my mind. I’m not sure if it was her love of candy or something else that brought about that career aspiration, but I remember thinking to myself at the time, “Why wouldn’t she pick something more prestigious like a doctor or a teacher?”

I’ve thought about it a lot since then. It was silly for me to think that.

We ask our children — and sometimes even ourselves, what we want to be when we grow up. We think about where we want to be in 10, 20 or maybe even 30 years. While I agree on the importance of goal-setting, I also believe that sometimes we get so caught up in what we aspire to be in the future that we forget about what we’re doing today.

What can we do to make today matter? And how can we make someone else’s day around us a little better?

I’m thankful for the lesson I learned that day from seeing a little Wendy’s kids meal toy.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.