I have very special memories with my grandparents. I would go and visit and stay overnight for a week at a time. And when I showed up and my mom left, my grandma would begin spoiling me.
No, not spoiling.
We would make chocolate chip cookies. She's have shrimp cocktail just for me. We would have tea parties. I would get to drink 7 Up out of a fancy glass. We would sit quietly and read together.
We didn't do anything really exciting or go on great adventures. But we spent time together and I felt special and loved.
When I was in elementary school, mom and I lived in an apartment. I remember a neighbor who lived next door - a single woman. I don't remember her name. I don't remember a lot of interaction with her. But I remember hanging out with her. My memory of her was that she was probably in her 30's and was a professional in an office. I felt like an adult when I hung out with her. I felt like she enjoyed my company.
Shortly before she moved away, I remember she took me out to lunch. We went somewhere downtown and it was fancier than anywhere I'd ever been. She took me to a little gift shop and I picked out a stuffed animal - a unicorn. It wasn't my birthday but I felt loved and special.
In 5th grade, my dad adopted me. The day of my adoption, we all went to the attorney's office. My parents went to the courthouse and I stayed with the attorney's wife in the office. Paperwork was signed and when they came back, my dad was mine.
That alone is very special feeling, of course.
But I remember my 5th grade teacher. She found a moment alone with me the day before my adoption day. She told me that being adopted was a big deal and that my dad must love me very much. She wanted me to know that she was very excited for me.
She didn't say it - but she wanted me to know that she loved me.
She gave me a small gift to celebrate the occassion. It was a little porcelain figure of a little girl.
Again - I felt special and loved.
I share each of these stories to show that simple acts of kindness can have a big impact on a person.
We have lived in our home for almost 13 years. We live on a street where people stay - we don't see a lot of moves in and out.
My kids have recently made friends with an older couple (I'll just call them Mr. and Mrs.) who have lived across the street for 22 years. My kids adore this older couple. Mrs. will be 77 next week. Mr. is probably a couple of years older. They take good care of each other and of their home and their neighbors.
My kids love to go visit Mr. and Mrs. In fact, my kids have adopted them as grandparents - and been adopted as grandkids by this couple. On Saturday, Teagan said she wanted to do something for them , to show them that they are special. So we bought flowers and the kids wrote a nice card and we took it over to them that evening.
Teagan and I sat and visited with them for a little bit. And I instantly understood why my kids wanted to be around Mr. and Mrs.
This is their next door neighbor, their 5th grade teacher, their special week with grandma.
They feel loved and special.
Mr. and Mrs. don't see the pouty side or the angry side. They see and they express and they adore the pleasant and polite and loving side that my kids show to them. My kids, Teagan especially, gets a big dose of love and some affection when she spends time with Mr. and Mrs. She hears about how wonderful she is, she helps them out around the house, she learns about cleaning and gardening and mowing. She laughs at silly tricks - like Mr. "pulling off his finger."
Right across the street, my kids can look out their window and see a place where they feel spoiled, loved, special, cared about, happy, content - in a unique way that we can't offer in our own home where we have to have rules and expectations and chores and homework and sometimes fights and places to go and things to get done.
Do you have a place where you've felt special and loved? A memory you hold dear or a place you slip away to when you need a little extra loving attention?