There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread ~ Mother Teresa
I stood in the middle of gift central – known at any other time of the year as my dining room. I took a quick inventory of the ‘teacher table’. Sixteen gifts in total – one for each of the girls’ teachers and school staff along with Brooke’s aides, therapists and specialists. I looked at the pile and allowed myself a moment of satisfaction. If I don’t say so myself, there are some pretty fabulous gifts in there. Katie walked in to find me looking somewhat smug.
“Ooh, baby,” want to see what I got for Ms M? I think you’ll really like it. “Sure,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
“Hey, Mama?” she asked after approving of Ms M’s gift, “What did you get for Ms C?”
Huh? ** Insert needle scratching across a record sound effect ** Who the friggin frag is Ms C?
Apparently, Ms C works with Ms M and Katie sees her once a week and LOVES her and Mama, I can’t leave out Ms C!
Earlier that evening, I’d seen a bag of my favorite Lindt chocolates at a checkout counter. I grabbed it on impulse, planning to bring into my office to share with my business partner. Instead, I handed Katie the bag. Sorry, Johnny.
“Here, sweetie. We can give this to Ms C. What do you think?”
She smiled broadly. “Thanks, Mama. She’ll love those.”
Bullet dodged. I expected not to hear of it again.
Two nights later, I was back in gift central, assembling twenty-eight favors for today’s Inclusion Week Aide Appreciation Luncheon. Brooke was counting out strips of brightly colored grosgrain ribbon and handing them to me to tie.
Katie walked in. “Hey, Mama,” she said. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Of course, Katie,” I answered. “What’s up?”
I just want to thank you for giving me the gift for Ms C.”
I stopped what I was doing – ribbon hovering in mid-air. “What’s that, honey?” I asked.
“Well, I just want you to know that I really appreciate it.”
I glanced around the room full of hand-picked gifts. Of all the items I’d agonized over – of all the google searches and trips back and forth to every store in Boston to find the PERFECT way to thank each and every teacher – all different, all meticulously tailored to each individual – she was thanking me for handing off a bag of chocolate that I had bought for myself? Really?
“It’s just that, well, I know you didn’t think it was important. But you gave me something for her because you knew that I thought it was important. And that means a lot to me. I just wanted you to know.”
You know me well enough by now to know that the tears were flowing. I pulled her into a tight hug and tried to tell her how much I appreciated her telling me what she had. That being appreciated makes all the difference in the world.
I told her that the bigger message wasn’t lost on me either. The gifts from her should come from her. Mama’s a little slow sometimes, but I got it.
Luau yelled in from the office. “You guys OK in there?”
Katie did the honors. “I’m fine. Mama’s just melting a little. Give her a minute.”
God, I love that kid. I wonder if she’d like some chocolates.