22 December 2005

it's the thought

ava has really gotten into the spirit of things. she has taken to wrapping up tiny little found objects to give to all her school friends. I haven't had the heart to tell her that her classmates might not be so excited about receiving a piece of an old pencil eraser. frankly, I was thrilled to see her focus shift from getting to giving. it's an exciting thing to witness, it's what you hope for as a parent. even if it has been breaking my heart on the daily. any little thing that caught her eye (which included the cracked half of a plastic pink bead she found on the floor of the thrift store the other day) was lovingly wrapped in a minuscule piece of red tissue paper and a whole mess of tape. she held them in her hands the other day, all those tiny little red packages. she held them carefully, as if they were jewels and her eyes shone with pride. she could not wait to give them to everyone in her class and I said a small prayer that her friends would somehow see the love behind the odd little gifts. and then in the car on the way home from school the other day, she told me that she had given out all her presents. she looked out the window and said nothing else. and of course, this worried me but I did not pry.

yesterday, we had lunch with ava at her school to celebrate the grand opening of the new cafeteria. as we sat eating macaroni and cheese and fruit cocktail (naturally), a little boy eyed me from across the table. I could tell that he was working up to the saying of something. then finally, "ava gave me a present," he said, grinning generously. oh, he was so happy about that little gift, he was. and then ava, she smiled too-- a smile as wide and as open as the whole of the sun.

kids, man. they can be so cool.

31 comments:

  1. i came to through mommycoddle
    and i had to tell you
    what a sweet story that was...
    so cute..

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  2. Ward should should turn this great story into an animated holiday special... love reading your posts, as always!

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  3. Andrea: I so needed to read this sweet story. Ava has the right idea - her presents may not have been much to our adult way of thinking, but to her (wrapping them all with her love) and to her recipients, they were real treasures because she was thinking of them. And it makes me think of when Jesus was "delivered" that he wasn't much to look at either and yet, he came as a wonderful gift to us - hidden as a mere man. What a story.

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  4. aww, that is a sweet tale... perfectly pinpoints the reason for this whole season. and good for you for not stifling her desire to give by being judgemental of what she wrapped as gifts. it's tough to sometimes stand back and let kids be their own little selves, but I think it helps them become better people. i so want to give that little boy a high five for being such a cool little kid and appreciating her gift!

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  5. what a sweet and thoughtful young lady....=)

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  6. how good is that? :)

    i'd love to get a piece of tissue with a mass of tape around it!

    merry christmas dear andrea!!!
    xoxo

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  7. oh, i am so thankful they were well received! yet another one of those precious events in the lives of our kids that can make or break your heart. so glad it worked out with a sweet blessing for you and Ava. she is truly a sweet heart.

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  8. It's so precious and right.

    Giving is RAD. And wrapped gifts are RAD. And sometimes I just want them to stay wrapped in the intent and celebration of it all.

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  9. That is so awesome!

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  10. they are so much cooler than all of us adults, those kids. and ava sounds like she's well on her way to becoming such a sweet, caring young lady. i'm so glad it worked out for her. such an endearing story.

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  11. oh andrea.
    that just warmed my heart so much.
    truly.
    you are such a good mom. i love that you let her wrap all those things and you didn't say "no...your friends won't like that". you let her do her thing.
    and it made her friends very happy, and in turn, i'm sure it made ava feel proud.
    how sweetsweetsweet!
    kids are the best joy on earth.
    happy holidays to you, girlie! and yer cute family, too! xoxo

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  12. what a lovely story! ava is a sweetie.

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  13. So good you didn't 'protect' her from possible pain! That's just so hard to let it all run it's course. And it's only us adults that have learned? and are now 'unlearning' (in my case) this way of thinking. I just wrote about how I loved playing with seaweed, sand, stones and shells on the beach, I must have looked like a scrawny little girl with sand in her wet hair (in her eyes!) and mudsandy hands digging into the beach to the adults then. But I was playing with gems and jewels and treasures.
    Your Ava is a great girl!!

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  14. I love this story. So sweet!! The found object gifts is precious. Kids are the best:) Happy Holidays!

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  15. first of all, when I read lulu's comment, I thought it said, "i'm so thankful they were well CONCEIVED"...haha!
    What a good little chicka that Ava is! Emma does the EXACT same thing, although she doesn't have schoolmates, so they gifts are usually for me or Dan...a pen, a barrette, a tape measure, whatever strikes her at the moment. And yes--there's LOTS of tape!
    Ava's story was so sweet and so beautifully written, as always...

    Oh, and I agree with kathleen--you are such a good mama that you didn't say no, but just let her carry out her gifting plans...

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  16. Okay, okay...I'm calling the police right now, and having all of you arrested for being sooooo...cute. That story is so happy and cutesy and all, it left me speechless in my newfound, wintery world of New York callousness. How do you expect me to construct a hard shell of street-smart indifference (which is needed to survive up here) when you post things like this? Everything I've built up has been thawed away. But seriously, Ava's soooo thoughtful, and she's lucky to have a Mom who protects her---yet doesn't force her into a plastic bubble of sugar-coated denial. Your stories rock!

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  17. *cry* ... so sweet, I can hardly stand it. And you sound like the most sensitive, kind mama.

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  18. i just love this story! it made me tear up a bit. way to go ava girl! you are the coolest.

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  19. They CAN be, can't they?

    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

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  20. At one time communities would seek counsel from the elders on matters of import. More experience usually translated into lessons learned. Having survived my share of crises, I am still around to share a thought or two. The main lesson is to never stop learning. Reading is good as is seeking other points of view and new ideas like visiting your blog. Finding what is ultimately important leads one to appreciate actuality, efficiency and mindfulness. Helping others to see some of the forest through the trees is another. synergy

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  21. thanks for such great words, everyone.

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  22. love that story andrea..it actually reminds me of when you were an elementary school girl! if i remember correctly your pockets were always filled with something from your grandma's shop and other little goodies.....i thought last night...i've known you all my life...merry christmas...did you get my email?

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  23. Love, Joleen PhotographyDecember 18, 2007 4:30 PM

    Thanks for linking to this today.. this story TUGGED at my heart strings and left tears in my throat. So beautiful. :)

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  24. That's so beautiful, thanks for sharing the story.

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  25. hey Andrea... it was great to read about Ava. My kids Evie (3) and Fin (7) are have taken combing the beach for washed out and faded plastic to make into gifts. This year I got 40 pieces of pink plastic and 40 pieces of red plastic for my birthday... It took them weeks of secret trips to get the right ones (horses, dollys and bottletops...) It was the best birthday present I'd ever had and they spent days/weeks telling me about each piece! kids truly are great.

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  26. My little girl is always doing this too.I remember her wrapping a chocolate bar up for a little boy in her class.When I asked her why she said it was to cheer him up because he was always grumpy.When she gave it too him he really blushed but didn't say anything or even smile.Josie said it didn't matter she could tell he was happy inside.So sweet.

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  27. what a wonderful and inspiring story. i wish that i will someday experience that as a parent (when my husband and I have little ones). she sounds like one hell of a kid. i can for now only relate through my nieces and nephews who do that same kind of thing for their Aunts and Uncles each Christmas Eve. giving us carefully wrapped bits of love they found or bought at the school penny store. so sweet and so refreshing and so what life and all it's special memories are all about. cheers and Merry Christmas to you and your adorable little clan. thanks for sharing.

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  28. that ava, what a GOOD girl.
    your description of the little teeny gifts in the tiny little tears of tissue paper all wrapped in scotch tape made me smile so big. i can picture it exactly.

    what a nice reminder to us 'big folk' that the thought and love behind something can be worth so much more than the gift itself.

    xoxoxo

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