Merry Christmas, my friends!
I am getting SO excited about this magical time of year...the real reason for the season, and spending time with my family!
I wasn't sure if I should share this story because it's kind of long, but in talking to my cousin/bff Kim yesterday, she told me that she would share it if I didn't, haha ;)
This is a story about a 3rd grade boy...a story touched me so deeply I am glad to have made the decision to share it with you.
This sweet 9 year old boy was seated in his class next to a girl who was a bit newer to the school. He was put there because his teacher considered the boy to be so kind and helpful that she wanted the student to sit by him. Last Friday, before Winter Break began, the boy's mother visited his classroom as they were doing an ornament craft. The boy's mother noticed that the little girl sitting next to him looked just as any other child, but that her clothes were a bit more soiled than the average kid- even a messy third grader playing with paint. The boy's mother asked him: "is that your new classmate?" and he replied yes. The boy's mother then said, "well, that must make you feel good that she is still placed next to you because you are so helpful", but the boy had a puzzled look on his face.
"Why? Doesn't that make you feel good?" his mother asked. He looked a bit troubled and responded very quietly, "Mom, she actually makes me really sad". The boy's mother asked why, and he proceeded to tell her a story... "Mom? You see those shoes she is wearing?" The boy's mother looked down and noticed that the girl was wearing a very sparkly pair of brand new purple and silver Nike basketball shoes. "Wow, " said the boy's mother, "those are some sparkly shoes!" She smiled.
The boy replied, his face dropping a bit... "She told me that the school bought her those shoes because her family doesn't have any money." The boy's mother's heart sank a bit. "And, mom..." continued the boy, "remember yesterday when we all came to school in our pajamas for Pajama Day? She didn't come in them and when I asked her if she forgot, she said no, that she didn't really have any pajamas to wear to school. I know it's Christmas, Mom..and that you and Dad say that this time of year is hard because of all the money you have to spend, but I wish we could bring her some pajamas. "
The boy's mother was fighting back tears. She hugged her young son and told him how nice it was to feel compassion for someone and that they would say prayers for her family. Eventually the conversation was all but forgotten as they crafted, had snacks, and did story time together. His mother left to go to her other child's class party and it ate at her the entire time.
Later that day, while her kids were still in school, the boy's mother was at Target and couldn't believe her eyes when the HUGE sign as soon as you walked in read:
ALL SLEEPWEAR Friday and Saturday only 40% off.
Surely this was one of those "God things". You know the term...or maybe, no? In their house, they didn't say coincidence because NOTHING is a coincidence. This was a "God thing". God couldn't have set this up more perfectly and/or written it on this Mother's heart. The mother chose a purple and white pajama set with peace signs and then spotted a pink, fuzzy robe.
Complete w/ a gift bag, the boy's mother returned to school. She quietly knocked on the classroom door and thankfully got the teacher's attention before her son's. Through tears, she knew the teacher probably couldn't give out any info about the girl, but she didn't have to. The gentle "nod" that she understood was enough and her own eyes welled up with tears. The boy's mother didn't want to cause a scene- as this was a delicate matter. She wasn't sure if the class knew or just her son. She asked the boy's teacher if she should just leave it for her or if her son should give it to her and his teacher said "oh, no- he HAS to give it to her- that was the sweetest idea!" She hugged the boy's mother and then went to call the boy out of class.
The boy's mother and teacher showed him the bag and although she may not remember her son's exact face, she'd never forget it either. His face expressed more happiness than even when he had opened his own gifts in the past. They then explained to the boy that in a few minutes the lights would go off and the "Polar Express" movie would start. His teacher said that would be a good time to quietly hand the girl the bag. His mother then just made sure that when he handed it to her, he wouldn't say "here, because you don't have any..." or anything that a 9 year old might mistakenly say... "When you give this to her, you don't have to say anything except "Merry Christmas". Such a sensitive child understood this without any further explanation.
As the boy's mother was about to leave, the teacher looked at the boy and said to him "I want to tell you this in front of your mother. My boys are in their 30's and when I get home today, I am going to tell them that even though they are grown, when they grow up, I wish they were just like YOU."
The boy's mother couldn't fight back the tears anymore, but contained them until she got to the parking lot, thankfully. As she was leaving, she turned to her son and put her hand on his cheek and said to him "YOU are Christmas for that girl. I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life and I know you won't, either... I love you. I am so proud of you."
Moral of the story? Well, I'm sure we can all figure that out, LOL. It's a beautiful story, a beautiful thing to witness so many random acts of kindness this time of year...and I have seen and heard many this year. It makes me so happy to know that there are people who know that doing even the SMALLEST thing can make a ripple effect... and it's so beautiful to see it especially through the eyes and heart of a child.
..and why am I sharing this with you all today?
Because that boy....that beautiful, sweet, compassionate, sensitive boy... well....he just so happens to be
my son Jack.
Thanks for reading this today. While I have those "proud mama" stories about all of my kids, today's Jack's turn. I am so proud of him and the person he is becoming. So many proud mama moments and I really do appreciate you letting me share this with you... I guess now I don't know why I was hesitant to begin with except for the fact that there isn't any paper crafting involved...but hey, there was ornament making, LOL!
Christmas 2011 truly began for me on that day and my heart has been pretty full ever since...
I stumbled upon this passage and I absolutely adore it....it reminds me of the above story:
"Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to be put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself..."
~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976
Merry Christmas to all- sending you LOTS and lots of love... and remembering those less fortunate this Christmas season. One small gesture truly does make a difference and I hope you'll share your Random Acts of Kindness stories with me...leave a comment if you wish- I love hearing them!