Web Inspirations

Web Inspirations for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

Dec 21, 2007

From Time to Time

When I noticed the unused tissue on top of the neatly folded towels in the bathroom, I drifted back in time to my childhood.

The weather had turned sharply colder and Christmas was nearing. Feeling grown up, privileged to know that Santa was "in spirit" and didn't really come down chimneys, I decided the mature thing to do was to get a gift for my mom.

We were poor, but only in money, yet my mom managed to have gifts for my six siblings and me every year. It was one of my first realizations that my mom was struggling to raise us. I guess some would call it maturing.

But, being only eight-years-old, I had never bought a gift before. I wasn't sure what to buy or where to get it. I emptied the change from my bank, earned from collecting empty soda bottles, and headed to the local drugstore. They had everything you could ever want there.

When I entered the store, the air was warm and thick with odors. Even though Weber's Pharmacy sold medicine, they sold so many wonderful things, and if I close my eyes, I can still smell the store's scent to this day.

Wandering up and down each black and white tiled aisle, I carefully considered each item on every shelf. I looked at medicines and powders and things for illnesses that I couldn't even pronounce. With each item, I pictured my mother's expression while she opened it on Christmas morning. It was a difficult task.

I saw stockings and perfumes and I looked at watches in a glass counter that had rotating shelves, pressing the button to rotate each one. I knew the change in my pocket wasn't enough to buy one, but I picked out the one she'd like best anyway.

I began to feel discouraged, without hope of finding something. But, when I turned into the last aisle, I saw exactly what I was looking for. It was next to the bars of bath soap. It was the perfect gift. A great big box of tissues.

Now, a box of tissues may not sound like much of a gift to you, but they were one thing we never had in our house when I was growing up. With seven children and very little money, tissues were a true luxury item for us. My mother never bought them and for an obvious reason: they would be gone in a day or two. I laughed out loud thinking of how my mother always said my brothers wasted things like that.

I remember considering how my mother could have the luxury of her very own box. Not for the bathroom or where everyone would take some, but rather, to put on her own dresser where she wouldn't have to share them at all.

I had a great big smile on my face as I took the box from the shelf and confidently walked to the cash register, satisfied in my gift selecting expertise. My mom was going to love this!

Christmas morning came, and my mother, the most kind-hearted person in the world, loved the tissues.

Aren't moms just the best? That satisfied feeling I had in the drug store returned again when I saw her happiness. The joy we felt couldn't have been any greater, even if it had been a necklace of gold.

Sadly, I believe it was her only gift.

That year, I learned how to give a gift to someone special by selecting it with painstaking consideration and thoughtfulness, and wrapping it with ribbons of love.

Today, as I looked at that tissue on top of the folded towels, I remembered what I had learned. I realized just how far I've come in life and how blessed I am.

From a time when a simple tissue was a luxury, to a time when one can be left unused and discarded, we should never go so far that we forget the little things that held big lessons and molded who we are.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

I picked up the tissue and wiped tears of love and appreciation from my eyes.

--Jeanette Broderick


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