As you all know, decorating for the holidays also means finding temporary hiding spaces for the everyday household things that you move to make room.
I was doing just that last night, putting some candles and candle accessories in the top drawer of my coffee table in the living room. While I was shifting some items to make room for others, a small little loop of red construction paper caught my eye. Recognizing it, I smiled and picked it up to look at it more closely.
In June 2006, my position was eliminated at a West Lafayette, IN chemical company. Not having found a job by September of that year, I knew I needed to do SOMETHING to bring in SOME money. I spent the rest of the school year as a substitute teacher in grades K-5 in the Tippecanoe School Corporation.
One class I subbed in was making a red and green paper chain for a Christmas tree for a local social services organization. I helped those little fingers form the circles out of construction paper and glue them together and showed them how a link works. After school that day, before all my walkers and bus riders and car riders had departed for home, one of my little day-long troublemakers walked up to me and handed me a single red link.
She had decorated the link with little Santas, all drawn in pencil. And she had inscribed the words "You Are The Very Best" on the outside of the link. I smiled and gave her a hug, thanked her, and turned away so she couldn't see the tears in my eyes. I had reprimanded this poor thing all day long and yet she gave me a gift from herself. More than she will ever know.
She has to be a middle schooler by now, and I hope she remembers the day she brought Christmas joy into Mrs. H's life. I know I will always remember it.