“Mommy, I got something for you!” Cody ran through the door after school. His face wore the biggest smile ever. He waved something above his head. “It’s a pen. But not just any pen. It’s a lucky pen!”
He handed me the pen proudly. He stood in front of me with his shoulders back and his chest puffed out, waiting for my reaction.
I looked at the pen in my hand. There was nothing special about it. It looked just like any other ballpoint pen. I had a drawer full of them. But oh, looks can be deceiving. I didn’t realize how special it was at the time or how much I would come to treasure it.
I had made the decision to pursue a career in writing. A decision that was full of fear and anxiety for me. I had dreamed about it for a long time but I was afraid to take a chance. I was scared of rejection.
The night before, I had voiced those fears to my husband when I thought Cody wasn’t listening. “What if everyone hates my writing and I fail miserably?”
But Cody always did hear more than he was supposed to. Now he stood in front of me, watching me examine the pen.
“You don’t have to be scared now,” he said. “This pen will make your stories great and everyone will love you.”
Tears filled my eyes. I grabbed him and pulled him tight against me. I was afraid to speak. Afraid I would break down sobbing if I tried. With that pen, my six-year-old put everything in perspective.
Rejection didn’t seem like such a big deal any more. Even if I never sold the first story, I had everything I could ever need. I knew that pen would bring me luck, though. How could it not?
I felt lucky already, just by having Cody in my life.
I found out just how lucky when I heard what he did to get it.
In the lunchroom, Cody heard an older boy talking about having a lucky pen. He had to get it for me. The boy was a tough negotiator but Cody didn’t give up.
In the end, he traded his lunch, his favorite Matchbox car, two army men his brother gave him, a crayon, and a piece of candy. He traded his most prized possessions for that pen. Just to make me feel better.
I still have that pen, though it’s long out of ink, in a cup on my desk. When a rejection letter arrives and I start feeling sorry for myself, I look at it and remember just how lucky I am.
For while I treasure that pen, it’s the little boy who gave it to me who’s the real treasure.