Today was the last day of school. I thought it might be bittersweet, but it was only sweet. Last night I literally stayed up all night long making a scrapbook for my only girl student, and making
photo albums (cheapie, not fancy, just load 'em in) for the five boys in my class. When I was ready to go up to bed, I saw the dawn of a new day. Literally.
Yes way, it was 6:37 a.m . Granted, I had made a six-hour round trip to PA to drop Sarah and Hannah off, and took a nap in the evening, but then started working on the pictures and last-minute grading at 8:30 so that I could give a special giftie to each student today. It was well worth the lack of sleep, though. My girl absolutely beamed. One of the boys said, "Why didn't we get one like that?"
I replied, "I didn't think you'd appreciate it."
"Yes, I would," he said, "I'd love it."
Another boy said, "I would, too. I'd appreciate anything you do for me."
Gulp. Wow. There really are a few young men who recognize the love that sentimental hard work entails. I remember making a scrapbook for Ben when he graduated from high school. His friends came for a party here and were browsing through his book on the sofa, leaning in to see old photos.
I overheard a guy friend say to him, "That's really cool, Ben. That takes a lot of work to put all those pictures together. I wish my mom had done something like that for me." Now that choked me up, because this friend had lost his mom to cancer when he was 12. I realize not everyone is into scrapbooking, and truth be told, I rarely do it. But having received one from my own daughter as a Christmas gift one year, I know the feeling: indescribably loved.
In fact, this past week when I was at Target, shopping for the perfect albums for my students, a woman came into the same aisle. She asked me my opinion on the two albums she was considering and I gave it (as always. I like to help people over the hump, that's all:). One album was a simple sleeve kind that you can't add doodads or much journaling. The other was the opposite. "I like to journal, " I said, "It makes it so much more personal and helps you remember the details you think you'll never forget...but you do."
She proceeded to tell me that she was buying it for her best friend whose husband left her four years ago with two young sons. Then she met the man of her dreams and they were engaged to be married this past April. But he died suddenly in October. The woman talking to me said, "We just got back from a cruise, her and I. I was thinking of making her a scrapbook, but I just don't know. They're so much work."
""Have you ever received one?" I asked.
"Hmm, have I ? No...I've given plenty, but--"
"Well, let me tell you. I have gotten one, and there's just nothing that says "I love you" like a scrapbook."
"You're right," she said. "My friend's a single mom, she's lost her fiancee,she works full time, she is too busy to scrapbook our trip herself...." She tapped her lip. "You know, I'm gonna do this. It's a lot of work, but we had such a great time on our cruise, we'll never forget it. And she deserves something really special. You're absolutely right, there's nothing that says "I love you" like a scrapbook."
"Chances are, "I added, "she knows you love her, but this would prove it, huh?"
"Yes! It sure would!"
"She will be so blessed," I affirmed, pushing my cart away because I felt tears welling up.
It was one of those moments in life that make me stop and think, The world is filled with love. Yes, there is plenty of hatred and sadness and sorrow and ugliness, but let the media report that. Come to Target or visit a school or go to church or drive your daughter to a summer job far away and experience the deep love that people have for one another. Thank You, God, for love and for proving Yours to me and for givng people the capacity to express theirs in many ways, including scrapbooks. After all, You've said in the Bible, "These things are written down so that you will remember." And when we remember, it's obvious we are loved.