Thursday after school there was a baby shower for the PE teacher that I have been doing the long term subbing for this year. We were all so excited to get to see her cute little baby boy, watch her open fun presents and eat really good food. When I walked into the office to put my gift on the table I noticed all the pretty packages, fluffy tissue paper and cards. I looked at my gift and very carefully rearranged a few gifts and stuck mine in the back so it wasn't as noticeable.
I'm not sure what all happened Thursday morning. It's all kind of a blur. All I know is that all of a sudden it was 7:30 and time to go. It was pouring rain outside. We opened the door and all ran as fast as we could to the van trying to keep everything dry as we piled in and shut the doors.
Well, some things survive rain better than others. Tissue paper is one of those things that does NOT survive rain! By the time I got the gift from the house to the car and then from the car to the school, well, let's just say - it had seen better days. The tissue paper was all crushed instead of fluffy from being shoved in my bag in hopes to keep it dry as I ran to and from. The bag did not keep it dry so it also got kind of wilted looking. I tried to fluff it up but it didn't really work. I didn't notice how sad it was until I sat it next to the other packages that seemed to have not come through the same rain storm I had! Then I remembered I also had not put a card in there. No big deal right? Wrong, it would just bring more attention to the sad little bag. They would need to know who brought this blue one with the crushed, wilted tissue paper. How could they write down who it was from if there was no name? If I had just remembered the card they could have quietly read who it was from and then moved on to the next bag.
Mine ended up being one of the last ones opened. As she reached for the little blue bag and began looking for the card to see who it was from I had to say, "There is no card in that one!" I'm sure I turned bright red. I always do when I am embarrassed. I mean really, who forgets a card? Who, besides first graders going to an after school birthday party, gives crushed presents? Me. That's who.
Total fail right? Wrong again! Sometimes we have days when our best is amazing, when we can get it all done and still look good at the end of the day. We can have a clean house, an amazing supper cooked for the family, every one where they need to go when they need to be there, be able to shower and put on real clothes, do our hair and make up and have it last all day long and still have energy to play with the kids and help with home work. We can bake bread for our neighbors and cookies for our kids and put love notes on each of their beds that we made for them before we left for the day. Other days our best is a crushed present with wilted tissue paper and no card. Are those days failures? No. Certainly not. Thursday I got six kids up and ready for school, packed a lunch for me and snacks for them. I made sure the boys had their football gear in Michael's truck and that everyone had their planners signed and backpacks ready to go. We left at 7:30 that morning and did not return home until after 8:00 that night. That day, my best was wilted tissue paper and no card. It was! And you know what? It was okay! She threw the tissue paper away anyways! The bag and the paper were not the gift. It was what was inside that was the gift.
It's the effort that counts, the thought that went into it, the intentions behind it. Some days all of that will look like a beautifully wrapped gift or a pretty bag overflowing with colorful fluffy tissue paper and attached to a card with a lovely saying that brings a smile to everyone. But some days it will look like my little blue bag and we will have to stand up and say, "There isn't a card in that one!"