I'm going to have to blame this one on a beautiful short story I read today in the classic book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum. I dare you to read the following and not tear up too!
"Watched a man setting up a Valentine's Day display in a store window. It's the middle of January, but the merchants need to get a jump on love, I guess. Don't get me wrong -- merchants are fine folks. They give us choices and keep us informed on the important holidays. How would you know it was Halloween or Valentine's Day or Mother's Day early enough to do something about it, if merchants didn't stay on the job?
The other group I count on is kindergarten teachers. They always know about holidays, and when it comes to valentines and other evidence of love, no merchant can compete with them. What the kindergarten teachers set in motion, no merchant could sell -- it's beyond price -- you can't get it at the store. What I'm talking about here is something I think of as the gummy lump. Once it was a shoebox, decorated and given to me by the oldest child. Then it became a repository of other relics of childhood given to me by the younger children. The shoebox became my treasure chest in time. Its components are standard: Three colors of construction paper -- pink and red and white -- faded now, aluminum foil, orange tissue paper, several paper doilies, three kinds of macaroni, gumdrops, jelly beans, some little white hearts (the kind that taste like Tums) with words on them, and the whole thing held together with a whole big lot of white library paste, which also tastes like Tums.
Anyhow, this shoebox isn't looking too very good now. It's a little shriveled and kind of moldy where the jelly beans and gumdrops have run together. It's still sticky in places, and most of it is more beige than red and white. If you lift the lid, however, you will begin to know what makes me keep it. On folded and faded and fragile pieces of large-lined school paper, there are words: "Hi daddi" and "Hoppy valimtime" and "I lov you." A whole big lot of "I lov you." Glued to the bottom of the box are twenty-three X's and O's made out of macaroni. I've counted them more than once. Also scrawled in several places the names of three children.The treasures of King Tut are nothing in the face of this. Have you got something around the house like a gummy lump? Evidence of love in its most uncomplicated and most trustworthy state? You may live a long, long time. You may receive gifts of great value and beauty. You may experience much love. But you will never believe in it quite as much as you believe in the gummy lump. It makes your world go round and the ride worth the trouble.
The three children are grown up now. They still love me, though it's harder sometimes to get direct evidence. And it's love that's complicated by age and knowledge and confusing values. Love, to be sure. But not simple. Not something you could put in a shoebox. This sticky icon sits on a shelf at the top of my closet. Nobody else knows it's there. But I do. It is a talisman, a kind of cairn to memory, and I think about it every morning as I dress. Once in a while I take it down from the shelf and open it. It is something I can touch and hold and believe in, especially when love gets difficult and there are no small arms around my neck anymore.
Oh, sure, this is the worst kind of simpleminded, heartrending Daddy-drivel imaginable. I've probably embarrassed us both by telling you. But it's beats hell out of a mood ring or a mantra when it comes to comfort. I have no apology. The gummy lump stands for my kind of love. Bury it with me. I want to take it with me as far as I go."
Your eyes may be watering at this point, but I bet you smiled more than once and your heart is a little bit warmer for having read this!
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!