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 that 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
When I entered the store, 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
shelf. I knew that 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 -- 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
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
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
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 ~
[ by: Jeanette Broderick (email@example.com) -- from 'Heartwarmers' (firstname.lastname@example.org) ]
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