Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Most Precious Gifts Can't Be Bought

I trust you. You are my person.

"Hey, look at this. I didn't even notice she was there until I felt something warm and heavy on my leg." GWH and I were both astonished. This kitty is very stand-offish. She does not cuddle. She does not let anyone pet her. But today she decided to trust us. First, she crawled into bed with me and cuddled right beside me. Then this remarkable sight! What does this have to do with gifts you ask? Well, let me 'splain how this is all connected in a twisty-turny kind of way.
It all started with...
I was helping out at our McDonald's McTeacher's Night. I was doing my part to help raise funds for our school. I didn't mind and neither did my Girls. They love seeing "my kids" and of course they love McDonalds. As I was walking around selling cookies I nearly got knocked over from behind with a torpedo hug from one of my Firsties! She was so happy to see me as I was her. I returned her hug and told her how excited I was to see her. Throughout the night I get several hugs from current students. But I am most surprised and touched by the hugs I get from former students who now tower over me.
My students and I have a deep discussion. (oh yeah, Firsties can get very philisophical. I am convinced if the rulers of the world took their advice this would be a better place)
We talk about Christmas gifts. They always ask me what I want and I know most of their families struggle for the basics, so I  always respond with, "You know the best gifts don't cost a penny. If you drew me a beautiful picture or wrote me a story I would love it. And you give me a gift everytime you come to school!"
 "You can give people a hug and you don't have to buy it. Huh, Teacher?" They get it.
I go pick my Girls from aftercare. I see a boy and a girl innocently swinging away on the swings and catch the tell-tale cock of the girls head that tells me she is smitten with the boy. I giggle and make the comment, "Spring is coming early this year!" The ladies in charge remark how the boy is very well liked by all and. "by the little ones especially because he is kind, caring, and helpful to them." They tell me how the little ones will run and give him hugs whenever they see him.
When I saw this kitty sitting on GWH lap I couldn't stop but remember my Comadre and a long discussion we had one day about children.
(I think she's working with the Angels now. No, I am sure of it. We are blessed.)
This is what she said. 
"Carinna, when a child reaches out to give you a hug don't be afraid to return it. So many of the children we teach never get affection and they are hungry and thirsty for love." She and I would have long discussions about the state of education and on this particular day she was upset about a comment a teacher made to her about a child ,not in my Comadre's class, who always stopped to give her a hug. "Ugh, I don't let her touch me. She is so needy. I always see kids that aren't even in your class give you hugs. I couldn't do that. I don't like them to touch me." Comments like this about children would send my Comadre into a tizzy and I admired how eloquently she would respond to them. She loved, respected and cared deeply about all children and they returned that love and trust whole-heartedly. She was a lady.
When our kitty decided to cuddle, I knew somehow she decided to trust us and show us affection. The best thing we could do is return it.(Just as long as she doesn't decide to dig her nails in too much, yeowch!)

 The Lesson
 Even if you're not a hugger, some of the best gifts you can give are a warm hello, a handshake, and a smile.
So, whattaya waiting for, Christmas?


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