He climbed down off the chair where he sat with his Mama. Holding in his hand a roll of stickers, he stopped in front of where we sat. “Want one?” he held them out to us. We all smiled and shook our heads. Not to be discouraged, he held them out to me, “Want a sticker?” I smiled and thought that this might be the cutest little guy alive, with the exception of our Cooter. His sincere offer of a sticker was just too precious.
“No, buddy,” I said. “You keep them.”
“I wants to share ’em,” he said. He turned to Cooter. “You want one?” This little guy knew his audience. They were Angry Birds Star Wars stickers. Why on earth would Cooter ever turn down anything remotely related to Star Wars?
My little guy gave me a side glance, and I nodded it was okay. “Sure,” he said. The little boy, a good head shorter than Cooter, held out his offering once more. “You can has any of ’em you wants. I already gots mine.” He held out his roll of five stickers, with one space empty. He sported that sticker on his shirt. Cooter reached out to tear the top one off. He struggled. Our new friend stopped him and said, “No you don’t has to tear it. You can just pull it off. Like dis.” And he pulled it off the paper so Cooter could wear it then and there.
Cooter was tickled. He visits the allergist’s office almost as much as his sisters, and yet, as the only one NOT getting shots, he rarely gets his own sticker. The nurse is the best and sweetest nurse ever, and she gives each patient a good five or more stickers. But Cooter usually has to depend on the kindness and generosity of our Princess to get one, so that doesn’t always happen.
After wandering for a minute, the little guy came back. He put them in front of me again, “Don’tcha want one?” He was persistent, I’ll give him that.
“Did you get shots today?”
“Yep, I did.” He nodded seriously.
“Wow you earned those stickers, you were a big guy.” I smiled.
“No, it’s okay, I just want to share these. You can have any one you want.”
I finally gave in. “Okay, but you choose which one you want me to have.”
He started peeling off one. “I want you to have the bombing one. I think that one will be good. He turns a color and if you touch him, he might ‘plode.” Really? The bomb one. Okay, he thinks I’m the bomb. That’s the story I’m telling myself people. It works for me.
He told me I could even put it on my shirt right then. And so I did.
It made him smile. Which made me happy.
And then I proceeded to wear it the rest of the day. I forgot I had it on. During Sister Circle and in the waiting area at dance and gymnastics and all in between. Y’all. It makes me wonder what people really think of me that the only one to ask me why I was wearing it was an eight year old ballerina. But that’s a pondering for another time.
Lessons learned today:
Use your stickers. Don’t hold onto them for another day–to put on a paper or something at a later time. (Especially not furniture or car windows–not that I know anything about that. Ahem.) Wear them. And enjoy them. (But please take the stickers off before you put your clothes in the wash. It can take all kinds of time and crazy effort to get the sticker glue off of clothes that have been washed and dried. Ain’t NOBODY got time for that.) Too often, and not just at the allergist’s, my children hand me their stickers with the idea that they are “saving” them for later. Let’s save money, little folks, not stickers. Enjoy them. That’s what they are for. It made me happy (and a bit surprised) to see that sticker on my shirt when I looked in the mirror tonight. (I’m over 40. What other folks think of me matters less and less everyday.) Kind of makes me wish I had another one to wear tomorrow. Shoot, stickers might become my new favorite accessory. They’re really fun.
More importantly, sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is to let them share, to accept what they are giving. Simply put, let them give. I love that it was a child who graciously accepted what our new friend was offering first. We can learn a lot from them. It was given and received with the same spirit–genuine heartfelt kindness.
Some of Mama’s favorite words in the Good Book were in Ecclesiastes 3–the “Time for Everything” verses. We can spend so much time focusing on giving to others and helping others that we fail to see the big picture. That there is a time for giving and a time for accepting.
Tonight I am thankful for our new friend and his gentle reminder that to accept a gift is a gift in itself. It’s just more fun to share. Especially stickers.
Now anybody know where I can get me some stickers in bulk? I like to accessorize. And to share.