The day before Christmas eve is always busy, and yesterday was no exception. The office will be closed for several days and there were so many things that needed to be done. Payroll had to be audited and sent out, some schools had paperwork deadlines for the end of the second quarter, schedules needed to be coordinated for time off so we were sure to have coverage for those families that wanted services next week, some end of the year banking needed to be done... on and on.
It was busy, and the message was delivered this year on cue in the form of Tina. At the very end of the day we had three families jostling past each other between appointments and Tina burst through the front door on a mission. She made a bee-line straight toward me, absolutely disregarding all the social cues that might have otherwise indicated she needed to wait. It didn't matter that other parents were standing near me, that we were engaged in a conversation, or that her own mom was trying to corral her into the waiting room - her message HAD to be delivered.
As Tina jumped excitedly from toe to toe she reached as high as she could to show me a gift card to a local coffee shop and she could barely contain herself,"Here is a $5.00 gift card so that when you are done working today you can go to relax a little and get yourself a really nice cup of coffee or maybe a hot chocolate or WHATEVER YOU WANT!"
The 'WHATEVER YOU WANT" is what caught me on several levels, and I suspect it caught all the other people in the room too. The parents in the waiting room all understood the impulsivity, and the lack of attention to social convention, and the excited lack of emotional regulation in Tina's voice. They deal with those issues themselves every day.
But what demanded attention was the purity of the gift and the absolute joy of giving - which at the end of a day that was filled with attention to comparatively inane issues - was exactly the message that I needed to hear.