A 9-year-old girl steals her mother's wedding gown and flees with it, intending to sell it to a stranger and stop the wedding. But she regrets her decision when her mother becomes ill and is taken to the hospital.
Susan Peterson was just 16 when she got pregnant. She thought telling the good news to her boyfriend James would thrill him as she was, and they would raise their daughter together.
To her dismay, quite the opposite happened. James abandoned her and walked away from her life, claiming he didn't want to care for them.
Susan's daughter stole her wedding dress | Photo: Shutterstock
Susan, an orphan, was devastated when James left her. But the woman didn't give up. She worked hard, completed her degree, found a good job, and raised their daughter Ruth on her own.
However, Ruth was always curious why she didn't have a dad. When she asked her mother about it, Susan didn't hide anything from her. "Ruth," she explained, "your father didn't want to be with us, so he left us. But we don't need him. You and I can be happy without him, right?"
Ruth nodded her head, agreeing with what her mother said. However, as she grew older, she developed a dislike for men. She believed that men were bad people who would abandon her mother again. So Ruth hated it when her mother dated.
One day, Susan came home with a man named Jeremy and told Ruth that she was dating him. Little Ruth didn't like Jeremy. In fact, she hated him and didn't want him and Susan to be together. So at dinner, she dashed over to the seat next to Susan so Jeremy wouldn't sit next to her.
When Jeremy left that night, Susan went to Ruth's bedroom. "Honey. I have to tell you something," she told Ruth. "Jeremy and I like each other, and we want to get married. But we don't want to do it without telling you."
Ruth didn't like it when Susan announced she was getting married to Jeremy | Photo: Pexels
"I don't like him, mommy," Ruth snapped at her mother. "All men are bad guys. He is a bad man, just like dad. He will leave us, and you will be sad."
"Oh, Ruth," her mother said as she hugged her. "Jeremy isn't like that at all. He's a wonderful man who loves you. He came to our home because he wanted to meet you. Mommy loves him, Ruth, just like she loves you."
"But, mom," Ruth objected. "I don't want you to be sad."
"Mommy will be happy with him, Ruth, and so will you. Won't you like him if Mommy says she likes him?"
"Ok, mommy," Ruth said quietly. "If you like him, he must be nice. But I don't want you to marry him."
"We're not getting married anytime soon, Ruth," Susan explained. "We still have a month to go. Before that, Jeremy would like to spend some time with you. Is that all right?"
"Yes, mom," Ruth said indistinctly. However, the girl wasn't ready to let a man break her mother's heart.
Despite spending quite some time with Jeremy, who was very sweet and nice to her, Ruth never liked him. She thought he was just pretending to be nice to her so that he could marry her mother. So she devised a plan to "save" her mother.
Ruth dashed off to a nearby salon with her mom's wedding dress | Photo: Unsplash
Hours before the wedding was scheduled, Ruth told her mother she was going to play in their garden.
She had overheard her mother talking over the phone that her wedding gown would arrive around 11 a.m. Ruth went to the garden around 10:30 a.m., and when the parcel arrived, she took it and dashed off to a nearby salon with it.
"Hi, my name is Ruth. Can you please buy this dress from me?" she inquired with the salon's receptionist, placing the parcel on her table.
Ruth had seen several girls getting ready at a salon for their wedding on a TV show, so she assumed people at a salon bought wedding dresses, and she decided to sell her mother's wedding dress to someone there before her mother found out.
However, when she arrived at the salon, the receptionist was perplexed by her odd request. "Hello there, lovely lady. Do you mind if I inquire about what you're doing with a wedding gown? You're too young to marry."
"Oh no," Ruth said with a severe expression on her face. "It's not for me. It's mommy's dress. If you don't buy it from me, I can't save her. I don't want mommy to be sad."
The receptionist was perplexed by Ruth's request | Photo: Pexels
The receptionist was a little stunned. "What do you mean, Ruth? Why will your mommy be sad if you don't sell her wedding dress?"
"Because…." Ruth had just started speaking when the manager, Mrs. Anderson, walked in. She immediately recognized Ruth as Susan was a frequent visitor to their salon. She was concerned when she saw Ruth alone.
"Hi, Ruth. What are you doing here? Where's Susan?"
"Oh, Mrs. Anderson. Can you please buy this dress? I don't want mommy to be married."
Mrs. Anderson exchanged a quick look with her receptionist, wondering why the girl said that, but the receptionist signaled that she had no idea. Mrs. Anderson accepted Ruth's offer to buy the wedding dress from her and asked her gently, "Would you like some cookies and milk, Ruth?"
"No," the girl replied. "I need to get home soon, or mommy will find out that I sold her dress. I have to leave."
Mrs. Anderson was curious why Ruth sold the wedding dress | Photo: Pexels
"But Ruth, why did you sell the dress? You can tell me, and we'll keep it a secret from your mother."
"Yes! Susan should never learn what happened to the dress, and I can help you."
"Oh, thank you!" the little girl said and narrated the whole story about why she didn't want her mother to be married.
Mrs. Anderson felt sorry for Susan after hearing the entire story, so after she sent Ruth home, she dialed Susan's number and told her everything. The wedding, of course, had been canceled by then, not only because the dress had gone missing, but so had Ruth.
Susan was freaking out over Ruth's disappearance and was in the process of asking her neighbors about her when Mrs. Anderson called. Jeremy was also concerned, and the two had decided to go to the police station if Ruth wasn't found soon.
Susan was really worried when Ruth disappeared | Photo: Pexels
So Susan was enraged when she discovered what her daughter had done. However, she didn't tell her that Mrs. Anderson had told her everything.
"What the hell happened to you, Ruth? Did you know that everyone had arrived at the church for the wedding, but I had to cancel it due to your disappearance? Jeremy was so disappointed! He just left a few minutes ago to deal with the cancellations. Where did you go? "
"Mommy," Ruth said, scared. "I - I was just playing when…."
"Yes, tell me, Ruth! Where did you even disappear to?"
Ruth knew she couldn't lie at this point, so she told Susan everything.
Susan was furious and locked herself in her room, ordering Ruth not to talk to her. Ruth was sad that she'd hurt her mother. "I'm sorry, mommy," she apologized as she knocked on Susan's door, but Susan told her to leave.
Ruth returned to her room, saddened by what she'd done, but returned to Susan's room later in the evening. "Are you still mad at me, Mommy? I'm sorry," she apologized, but there was no response this time.
Susan locked herself in | Photo: Pexels
Ruth knocked several times on Susan's door, but she did not respond. Fortunately, Jeremy had arrived at their home just then because Susan had not returned his calls.
When he rang the doorbell, Ruth answered it, teary-eyed. Jeremy asked her what happened, and the little girl pointed to her mother's room. Jeremy knocked on Susan's door several times. When he didn't get an answer, he broke open her door and discovered her unconscious.
He lifted Susan in his arms and dashed to the hospital with Ruth. The doctors there informed them that she had collapsed as a result of stress.
Jeremy stayed by Susan's bedside all night with Ruth, watching over the two of them. At one point, he told Ruth to stay by her mother's side when he left to get some water. Ruth nodded, teary-eyed, blaming herself for her mother's illness.
"I'm sorry, mommy," she said, sobbing. "I'm a bad girl. You fell ill because of me. I will never do it again."
Ruth was sad that her mother fell ill because of her | Photo: Unsplash
When Jeremy returned, he was outside the ward, listening to Ruth apologizing to her mother. "I'm sorry, mommy. Please wake up now. I will never trouble you again. You promised me you would make a dress for my fancy dress competition. It's just two days away. Please wake up, mommy!"
Ruth burst out crying when she saw her mother wasn't responding. Jeremy reassured her that Susan would be fine soon, and he drove Ruth home so she could rest.
Jeremy stayed with Ruth at night, and when he visited Susan the following day, he told her everything the doctors had said and asked her to forgive Ruth. "She's a child, honey, and she will have a hard time accepting me. We will take this slow, ok?" Susan gave him a nod and agreed to forgive Ruth.
When Ruth visited her at the hospital later that day, Susan hugged her and apologized. "Sorry for scolding you, honey. Mommy will never do something like that again."
Susan and Ruth reconciled | Photo: Pexels
"I'm sorry, too, mommy," Ruth said. "Can we go home now?"
"Not now, Ruth," Jeremy explained to her. "Mommy is still weak, and she needs to stay here. We can meet her again tomorrow."
"Ok, I will see you tomorrow, mommy. Bye!" Ruth said and left with Jeremy. However, when she visited Susan the next day, a surprise awaited her.
"Wow! This dress looks beautiful, mommy! You remembered I have a fancy dress competition tomorrow?"
"Yes, honey," Susan said. "I'm sorry I can't drop you at school, but Jeremy will be there."
"It's ok, mom," Ruth said. "I love you."
"Love you too, honey!" Susan said before Ruth left the room.
When Ruth wore her costume the next day, everyone complimented her. In fact, she won the first prize, and right after the competition, she visited Susan to thank her. But Ruth was in for another surprise.
Ruth's costume won the first prize | Photo: Unsplash
"I didn't make the dress, honey," Susan told her. "Jeremy made it especially for you. He overheard you talking about it, and he spent an entire night stitching the dress for you."
"Yes, honey," Susan said. "Jeremy used to help his mommy make and sell dresses when he was younger. You should thank him because you won the prize because of him."
At this point, Ruth approached Jeremy, who was standing behind her, and motioned him to sit down. "Thank you, dad," she said and hugged him. "I know you are nice, and you will never leave me. You care for mommy and me, and I love you."
Jeremy's eyes welled up. "Susan…She just…."
Susan nodded that she'd heard Ruth call him dad.
From that day on, Ruth and Jeremy have been closer than ever.
Susan was relieved that her daughter had finally learned to trust men. She and Jeremy intended to marry at the end of the month. And the one who was most excited about the wedding was Ruth.
What can we learn from this story?
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