How a Facebook Mom’s Group, Capital Iron, and an Embarrassing Moment Made me Feel Closer to my Community


So, initially, I wasn’t going to share this story because it’s fairly humiliating. But, I’m swallowing my pride and sharing it for the following three reasons:

  • We all love that feeling we get when we hear stories that showcase human beings being benevolent to one another. It just makes us feel good about the world and restores our faith in humanity. Check!
  • Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to lean a little more readily into vulnerability, embarrassing moments, and getting comfortable with discomfort because, as Pema Chödrön says: “Resistance to unwanted circumstances has the power to keep those circumstances alive and well for a very long time.”
  • And perhaps most importantly, let’s be honest, we all secretly love to hear stories about people failing at life, because it makes us feel so much better about ourselves.

Petty? Yep!

Small? Totally!

True? Guilty!

So, this is my gift to you… Merry Christmas!

So, earlier this week, I was in the Westshore Capital Iron with my brood, picking up a few last-minute stocking-stuffers for the people on my list. Capital Iron, by the way, is a magical store that literally has something for everyone: sports fanatics, camping people, outdoorsy types, fishers, culinary creatives, the Martha-Stewart-types, and kids, too! It’s a great place to do last-minute Christmas shopping, plus it’s locally owned, and it turns out, they are all about being kind and going the extra mile for their community!

At the checkout, I remember patiently reminding my three-and-a-half year-old to kindly STAAAAAP touching all of the tempting items at toddler height about 17 million times, while playing an animated game of peek-a-boo with my baby in the stroller, who kept threatening to completely lose it and sabotage the entire operation. As we exited the store, bags in hand, I felt a distinct sense of relief: we had MADE it! Mission accomplished!

Pleased with myself, I set the stroller and bags beside the vehicle, then I buckled each child in the car. I even smiled with uncharacteristic love and tolerance, as boots and socks flew off of mischievous feet as we pulled out of the chaotic parking lot. Oh, you guys…

It wasn’t until the next morning, as I was digging through my purse readying myself for the day, that I realized my wallet was gone. Assuming it had been lovingly tucked into a ride-on car or oven of the play-kitchen, I casually began my search while simultaneously tending to the rapid-fire demands for breakfast, specific outfits, and advent calendars.

While checking emails and messages on my phone, I noticed one from my friend, Lyndsay: “I’ve just tagged your name on the mom’s group.” Anticipating encouraging or funny meme, I checked the group post. It turns out a fellow mom and Capital Iron employee, Alison, had tagged my name and written the following: “Can anyone help me out? We have some important belongings of hers at Capital Iron. Thanks for helping!”

My wallet! Immediately, I messaged her and announced I’d be in as soon as possible.

I arrived at Capital Iron, about an hour later. The store was bustling with shoppers and there were lines several people deep at both cash registers, so in the interest of time, I sheepishly made my way to the back of the store where several employees were working on inventory and helping customers. I gingerly interrupted them and apologized, but didn’t even have to introduce myself as Alison emphatically and warmly called out, “Are you Morgane?”

She quickly led me to the back corner of the store and unlocked the door to a small room, all the while assuring me that as a mom, she understood how easy it was to misplace items, that we all do so much during this time of year, and that she’s done similar things before. I nodded gratefully, as she handed me my wallet. Slightly embarrassed, I thanked her profusely for her empathy and lack of judgement before turning to leave.

That’s when she stopped me, with a confused look on her face:

“And, you’ll obviously be wanting to retrieve your stroller, aswell, right.”

My stroller?



My stroller.

In my haste, not only had I managed to misplace and forget my wallet, but somehow, I had succeeded in unknowingly abandoning my honking big, incredibly hard-to-miss stroller with the bag of stocking stuffer purchases in the parking lot, too. It became apparent that the staff at Capital Iron had not only salvaged my wallet, but had braved the elements to recuperate my stroller and items, then set out to track me down. That’s dedication!

I think what struck me most was that my sleep-deprived, over-loaded brain didn’t even notice it was gone! Who does that? I started laughing, helplessly doubling over with tears springing to my eyes, as Alison giggled alongside me.

Strangers and a friend had committed themselves to reuniting me with my items, all the while demonstrating much-appreciated compassion towards me.

As I left the store, this time with the stroller, bag, and wallet, I was overcome by gratitude for the amazing community in which I live.


















A Visit with Santa and a Generous Invitation


It was 9:16 am, Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album was playing in the background, and both of my children, smiling faces illuminated by the late November morning sun, were bundled and strapped in the back of our vehicle as we cruised down the highway on our way to beat the crowds and meet Santa. My husband was out of town, so I had devised an itinerary jam-packed with fun-filled kid-friendly activities to get us in the holiday spirit and fight off cabin fever. Baking, crafts, checking-out Christmas book titles from the library, visits with friends, kicking back with classic family movies, and photos with Santa…it was going to be fun.

This is likely the first and only year I have ever embraced the “magic of Christmas” and all of its commercial baggage so darn early. But, considering last year’s Christmastime debacle and dashed dreams as a result of my unexpected vertigo symptoms, one can’t really blame my earnest and eager efforts to squeeze every last ounce out of the impending holiday season!

That morning, I had prepared and mentally geared-up for the usual Outfit-Resistance Routine, only to be pleasantly surprised when my 3.5 year-old-daughter not only agreed to wear the reindeer sweater I had laid out for her, but excitedly reached for it and exclaimed how much she loved it! Nonchalantly, I had slowly backed away, dressed her brother in his companion reindeer sweater, and ushered them both into the vehicle, barely saying a word so as not to draw her attention to my complete shock in case she changed her ever-loving mind.

We finally pulled into the already bustling Mayfair Mall parking lot and quickly found a spot. It turns out “beat the lines” was everyone’s mantra that morning. The mall had barely opened its doors and already streams of coordinated children, dressed in green, red, metallics, and stark whites, poured into the building, eyes gleaming with excitement, little hands tugging and urging their parents along. You could see some children jockeying to be the first ones in the doors, some of them literally pushing past families to do so. My heart skipped a beat. Maybe this was a mistake. I paused, gazed at the scene, and deeply inhaled the fresh, crisp air. Then, I turned to haul the double-stroller out of my trunk, a must-have fall-back when you have two small children under three-and-a-half years of age.

We reached the entrance of the mall and bee-lined for Santa. I immediately became aware of two little girls, sisters around 10 years of age, flanking either side of my stroller. They were dressed in the most stunning coordinated red and green plaid dresses, golden ballet flats, and white knit capped-sleeve sweaters. I realized quickly that these girls meant business. Their straight brown hair swung from side to side as they pumped their elbows to propel themselves past the stroller as Santa’s workshop came into view. I resisted the childish urge to pick up my pace. However, I couldn’t counteract the sinking feeling that ensued as we rounded the corner and spotted the snaking line-up, 20 people deep. Santa wouldn’t arrive for another 20 minutes. Again, I thought of the memories, sighed, and resigned myself to whatever misery would meet us in that line-up. We joined in, coming in second behind the coordinated sisters.

I should mention, before I had children, I made grandiose declarations about the “kind of parent” I would be. Technology, unhealthy treats, unnecessary negotiations, and kid-centric food would NOT be employed in our house. As a new teacher, I would sometimes find myself lamenting a romanticised historical time when children demonstrated the fine art of waiting patiently with little more than a verbal reminder. Cue the enormous eye-roll. How ignorant was I to the perils and unrelenting marathon that is parenting!?

Fast-forward to the present, I am humbled by the experience of motherhood. It has been an incredibly beautiful, challenging journey. Parenting my children has been the most humanizing, reflective experience in my life. In many ways, entering the world of parenthood has forced me to evaluate the, sometimes, unrealistic expectations I have not only of myself, but of my children.

So, I forgive my imperfections.

I employ the use of occasional unhealthy treats.

Sometimes, I make empty threats.

I use my best negotiation tactics on an almost-daily basis.

Most days, our meals consist of a predictable rotation of kid-centric food.

And technology makes appearances at least once-a-day.

And, in that Santa line-up…I used every last trick in my arsenal.

I had to laugh at the irony, as my son was back-arching, I was plying both children with “special treats” usually only reserved for the potty, and my daughter was plugged into Charlie Brown Christmas (I know, I’m pretty sure it’s single-handedly responsible for teaching preschoolers the word “stupid”), I made eye-contact with a past parent and student I had taught.


There’s something sort of acceptable about feeling like a gong-show parenting failure in public when you feel anonymous, but the overwhelm reaches a whole new level when you actually know those around you, professionally. I smiled apologetically. She and her daughter gave a big friendly wave in our direction.

Forty minutes later, my parent-teacher ego a little bruised, we eventually arrived. We were second in line and could finally spot the big man, himself, between the photo set’s enormous sparkling trees. My daughter was star-struck, a smile spread across her face as she and her brother peered through the branches.

In that moment, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around. The two sisters stood in front of us smiling and invited us to go in front of them. I’m not sure if it was guilt for having beat us in the race to greet Santa, outright pity, or the giving spirit, but I appreciated the genuinely thoughtful gesture, nonetheless. Instinctively, I started to refuse, but remembered how magnificent it feels when someone graciously accepts your kindness. Their generosity made a big impact on me. It allowed me to practice the art of receiving. It also reminded me to search for ways to make those around me feel supported by and connected to humanity, especially throughout the busyness and chaos of the holidays.

Genuinely, I thanked the girls and their parents, and watched as my children greeted Santa, my son tentatively and reluctantly, my daughter enthusiastically.

It had been worth it, after all.