One of my sons had a friend over this week. The kids enjoyed an extended holiday weekend, and craved camaraderie to cap off their four-day furlough.
Before you jump ugly on me, this was not some super spreader event. Our family has observed quarantine and precautions as good as or better than many. I say this not in the way of the “We are COVID-safer than YOU, nanny-nanny boo-boo” martyrdom/shame posts I read all over social media (which occur with less frequency these days than the “COVID is a hoax and you masker snowflakes violate my ‘civil rights’ and I’m partying with ten thousand of my closest friends at the bar anyway” photos shared abundantly). I say it because my children share precious little time with their friends and the outside world, and need periodic face time vs. iPhone FaceTime these days. They continue to observe protocol.
So, friend dude comes over. Bearing gifts. For ME!
It was surprise enough that anyone showed up, given the massive dump of snow we got Monday night into Tuesday afternoon this week. When all was said and done, Mother Nature graced us with more than a foot of pristine, lake effect snow. I wasn’t driving out there, but an intrepid few did hit the road behind the wheel of their four-wheel drive SUVs. Fortunately for my kid, his buddy’s father was one of those intrepid motorists.
So this young man shows up, sheds his snow gear in the back hallway, and armed with a wrapped gift, thanks me for having him over. I accepted his lovely gift with a ridiculous smile, goofing “Get out of here!” in reply. We both laughed, and I’m at once touched and ashamed! I mean, I’ve sent my kid to friends’ houses with bags of chips, money for pizza, or dozens of donuts to help share the load of feeding teenage boys! But I’ve never sent a hostess gift for a child’s mother. This kid even hand-wrote a thank you note, and wished us a happy Valentine’s Day. Come ON! I joke about being constantly passed over for the Mother of the Year Award, and I think we can all agree I’m not even top 20,000 material. But this mom? *Ding, Ding, Ding* We have a winner!
I think the world of this kid, and even maybe a tad more, his mother, for making that happen. Good behavior and enviable etiquette don’t happen by accident. You can be full of all kinds of good character and goodwill through genetics, but not arriving empty-handed, complete with a handwritten note of thanks is a taught skill, not an innate one. The family’s thoughtful gesture warmed my heart and made me happy. More than that, it gave me hope. There are still parents teaching their kids to write notes of thanks. There are still parents who bestow gifts and other tokens of appreciation. It gives me hope because these parents are showing the next generation that being kind and expressing thanks matters.
Takeaway: That taking time to do something nice for the sake of doing something nice rewards on both sides.