I have an amazing job as an elementary school counselor, and sometimes I take it for granted.
As with most jobs, there are highs and lows. Today definitely had a high point, and I owe it all to a first grader.
Yesterday this little girl was coughing like crazy. You know the kind of cough, the type where there is congestion in your chest and once you start coughing you can't seem to stop. She kept going to the water fountain to get a drink of water for temporary relief.
In passing, I told her I would bring a water bottle today so that she could keep it filled and on her desk. It would be one to keep at school, because I feared if it went home that it would never return. This is the type of kiddo who I knew would remember and so I wrote myself a note to bring it with me this morning.
When I got to school, I didn't think about it until I heard her out in the hallway coughing. I scrambled back to my office to retrieve the water bottle, and her eyes lit up. We filled it up and took it to her classroom, and then I went on with my day.
Just before lunch, I noticed I had an email from this girl's teacher. She said, "Come to my room when you have a chance, because Sally (not her real name) has something for you."
I went into the classroom and the students were working on their writing. Sally sat at her desk diligently putting her pencil to paper. She read to me what she had written, and then I went to visit with a couple of other students. Neither she nor her teacher said anything until I was almost ready to leave the classroom.
"Sally, don't you have something you want to give Mrs. Denker?"
Sally jumped up from her chair, walked over to her student mailbox, and pulled something out of it. It was a book she had made, a book about her and me. She made it to thank me for the water bottle.
My heart melted.
I gave Sally a hug and walked back to my office to find a prominent place to post the book. It's there for anyone to see at any given time. And I hope when people come in and see it that they ask me about it.
I will tell them it was written by a little girl who has an amazing heart. She reminded me that I do have an awesome job where I get to stay young in spirit by being around kids who have energy and an endless supply of hugs. Some have seen more than their fair share of poverty, heartache, and tragedy, and yet they come to school each day and persevere in spite of the circumstances they face outside the school walls.
Sally reminded me to appreciate the little things, because as the saying goes, the little things are often the big things. I gave her a water bottle, but she saw someone who did something nice for her and she wanted to do something nice in return. The book she made spoke volumes without her needing to say, "thank you."
In essence, you just never know. You never know what the day is going to bring or the gifts that are going to come your way, in this case reminders wrapped up in a 7-year-old little girl.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.