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.

22 thoughts on “appreciation

  1. Ok, this is going to sound crazy but some how this post reminded me of this story. Every year we give Steve (our garbage collector) a Christmas card and cash guft. He is a great guy with two kids in college and, well, I just like having him around on the street two days a week. The block just seems safer when he is around. One year, right before Christmas when Patrick was about 3 years old he took Patrick on a ride in the truck up and down the street. Patrick, of course, loved it. Later he decided to make Steve his own Christmas card. Last year, when I approached the truck to give Steve his card I could see Patrick’s old card clipped to his sun visor. When I asked about it he brought it out and said it was his very favorite Christmas card and so he kept it in his truck. So, yes, gifts actually from our children are sometimes the best gifts of all. We will be hand making a card again this year. 🙂

  2. Oak tree and acorns. More of the world should be like your world. There is so much love there and the babies soak it in. Nice job Mommy!

  3. Thoughtful, generous, articulate, delightful, just like her mama.

    P.S. 28 favors for Inclusion Week Aide Appreciation luncheon… and *I* think *I’m* spinning plates! Wow.

  4. Wonderful story about Katie and so typical. I can’t forget her asking me if we came up just for her ice-skating competition a few weeks ago. When I said that of course we did, she said such a huge and appreciative, thank you. I also loved that Brooke was counting the ribbons for you.

    Love you all.


  5. “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”

    Jess, is it okay to love you and hate you at the same time? Cuz seriously – Charlotte’s team each get a gift card. The same one – not even specially selected. *hangs head in shame*

    Once again – you really are a person to admire. I do love you for your generosity and thoughtfulness. It’s obvious where Katie gets it from.

  6. I’m melting here, too. I have to say, I was somewhat relieved when a note came home from Kayla’s school that the staff is not allowed to accept personal gifts. A letter of appreciation will have to suffice.

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