It is late and I am tired, but I had to log on and write about the scene that played out between Henry and Lily this afternoon. Much too dear to skip over.
First, a little back story. So in Henry's class this year, they have a system of currency where they earn "pesos" for good behavior, classroom jobs, turning homework in on time, 100% on spelling tests, etc. Henry has been hugely motivated by the pesos and has been working hard all year to earn every peso available to him and bonuses whenever he can. Twice a year the students are able to use their pesos at a "Schubertsville" Auction (named after his teacher, Mrs. Schubert,) to buy toys, books, candy, pencils, a lunch date with Mrs. Schubert -- whatever they fancy. After nearly 18 weeks of earning pesos, the first auction was held today -- Henry was so excited about it! He'd been talking about it for weeks. We had combed through the house looking for items to donate to the auction. And he had almost 2,000 pesos saved up.
He did some great bidding! He came home with an inflatable guitar, a couple of Beverly Cleary books, a big orange punching balloon, a pouch of Big League Chew, some Angry Birds pencils and stickers and a gently-used kaleidoscope. I was so amused by his purchases. After he showed us his spoils he asked Lily to leave the room and he sneakily pulled a red and pink Beanie Baby from under the couch. "I got this for Lily for Christmas!" He was so pleased. And then he pulled out a very large green and red elf hat, bedazzled with little jingle bells. "And this is for dad," he beamed! My heart twisted and lurched. I just loved the fact that he'd done his Christmas shopping at his classroom auction.
He asked me to get out the wrapping paper and supplies and told Lily that he'd be wrapping her present in the guest room and to please not disturb him. She was so tickled that he had remembered her. Her mind immediately turned to what she could do for him. No money, no pesos, no gifts on hand. Feeling something of what the Little Drummer Boy must have felt, she went right over to the art drawer and took out the markers and a few blank sheets of paper. And she drew some pictures for him. (Ba-rum-pum-pum-pum). I walked into the living room and found her sitting in the middle of the room, marker in hand, paper on her lap, with Henry's guitar positioned right in front of her on its stand. She enlisted my help to draw it because she wanted "something really special that Henry will really, really like. So can you help me draw a guitar? And then I'm going to write 'you rock' on the top." And she had already cut out this fantastically lop-sided heart and written "I [heart] Henry" on it.
I helped her draw a guitar and went on hanging stars in the guest room (we're getting ready for company this weekend!) A while later she came in asking for a box.
"Why do you need a box?" I asked
"So I can wrap your present."
I could see that it was a folded up piece of paper, "maybe you could just slip it into an envelope?" I suggested.
"No, mom. I want to wrap it with wrapping paper. I want it to be like a real present."
I found her a box and got her all set up with the wrapping supplies.
It took her about a half hour to get it all taped up. She brought it to me and again -- my heart! Bulging, twisting, aching.
All evening my heart has been so big for my good kids and their dear hearts. Nate got home after they'd already gone to bed and while he sat at the bar and ate his dinner I chirped his ears off about the preciousness of these children. I showed him that rudely wrapped package and recounted every darling detail of the afternoon. And my eyes just filled up with tears because that -- paper hearts and scrappy wrapping paper and peso-bought beanie babies -- that is everything right and true about Christmas and everything beautiful and good about childhood.