Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A different kind of holiday

 This Valentine's has turned out much different than I would have ever expected. It is the first holiday that we have not been with my husband, and while I know it's not a major holiday and we have been very lucky to have been together for so many, I was still dreading it just a little bit. I think it's just the knowing that everyone else is together with their loved ones that makes it all the harder.... and to be honest, we have never really done much but you know... it's still Valentine's and lets face it... I've been missing him terribly anyways- it really doesn't matter what the day is! :)
 Yesterday was really the start of the holiday for us. It started with getting a beautiful little bracelet that I will cherish always, from a family member.... and then coming home from visiting to find roses waiting for me from my loving husband!! 
The real joy of today tho was going to the nursing home where my Gram lives now. The girls and I had purchased these little boxes back at Christmas time in the ornament section and then added some Valentine's stickers and this little poem...
We took them around to all the residents and had to read the poem for many of them. I can't put into words how amazing this experience was. We went into it wanting to make the day of some old folks but I feel so blessed by the experience that it was more like they gave us a gift really.
This is a very special gift

That you can never see

The reason it's so special is

It's just for you from me.

Whenever you are lonely

Or are ever feeling blue

You only have to hold this gift

And know I'm hugging you.

You never can unwrap it

Please leave the ribbon tied

Just hold the box close to your heart

It's filled with hugs inside.
  Many of the people seemed so pleased my our gesture but it was a few in particular that really touched me. As I was reading the poem to one lady, I wasn't even sure if she was hearing me. It's so hard in that kind of setting to see the people in various stages of life, but still... I read the poem to her and when I was done it was if a switch went off... she smiled the nicest smile and told me that I made her day! I was choking back tears as I left her room. I don't even know her name but she will stick with me for a very long time....
Another one that really stuck with me was this tiny old lady sitting in a recliner. She too had me read the poem to her and I had to say parts of it a few times before she understood as she was VERY hard of hearing. As I was reading it, she made the comment "I have some of those to give". I thought she was just being cute but when I stood up to leave she said again "I have some of those to give" and put her hands up, much like a small child would that wanted to be picked up. I bent down to give her a hug and she held on to me so tight and told me she loved me..... A few days later I found out that Myrtle was turning 103 years old! My girls and I went back and took her a card. She didn't remember us from the week before but I felt so blessed to have given her that hug and to celebrate her 103 years on this earth. I don't know anything about this woman or her life and yet I feel so blessed by a short encounter on a holiday that I was otherwise dreading... it's amazing the power of a hug isn't it?
Later that day, my mom and my two girls and I were at the Dollar General ( a new obsession for the girls as we don't have these stores at home) and yet again, God gave me the chance to help someone in need but really gave me the gift of showing my girls how to bring more kindness into the world around us. There was another old lady struggling to get out the double doors of the store with a cart full of bulky paper towels and other bags while also struggling with her walker. At first I just held the door for her but then realized the trouble she was going to have getting those items into her car. I offered to help but she assured me that she was fine and I just didn't feel good about walking away so I tried again. This time she let me... I loaded her groceries into the back seat and folded her walker up for her. I was on a natural high. Most of the time I am so consumed by my own two girls and keeping them safe in a parking lot, that I probably miss a lot of opportunities like this to help someone else but today I had the luxury of having my mom there and knowing the girls were cared for. Not only did I do a good thing for that lady but I got to show my girls an example of how we, as Christians, should show kindness at every chance we get.
I am not telling you this story to toot my own horn but to show how easy it is to give and receive blessings in even the smallest of actions....

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