But truthfully, after thinking long and hard about it, I don't think I went wrong with the boys.
Zach was the brand new kid when he was in second grade.
We grew to dislike the public elementary school in Louisville where we sent him for kindergarten and first grade. Lucas was there for preschool and they showed their true colors with their littlest students, and we decided it was in our kids' best interests to move schools. So we enrolled Zach in Catholic school and looked forward to a new educational chapter. In the first weeks Zach was there, he was shy, nervous, a little quiet and kept to himself. As time went on he came out of his shell a little and began to blossom.
Zach was never a kid who went looking for trouble, but neither was he a kid who strove to stand out with exemplary behavior. He was a normal little boy, with exuberance out the wazoo so his trips to the coveted treasure box were few and far between. I don't even know if elementary schools have treasure boxes anymore, but in his young school days they were not only the norm, but the expectation. These "treasure" chests contained a myriad of treats, from brand new pencils to bouncy balls to treats and so on. On one particular day, Zach was rewarded with a trip to his classroom's treasure box. I wasn't there, but I can imagine him standing there, looking through the box and trying with all his might to find the exact right treat for himself. He came home bursting with pride and excitement about his trip to the box full of toys and treats. I gave him a giant hug, and asked him what he picked out. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small pair of gold earrings and handed them to me.
"I picked these out for you, Mom. I hope you like them."
My heart nearly burst out of my chest. Zach stood before me with bright, shiny eyes and a huge smile and handed me his heart. He didn't get many trips to the treasure box, and he could have chosen anything for himself, but he chose something for me instead. They were just a little thing, but his gesture was one of the biggest things to me.
Fast forward many years. In March of 2011 Jan, our Czech exchange student, and Lucas went to the mall. I don't know the exact date, but I do know it was in March. Jan was crazy about new technology and he was desperate to get his hands on the new iPad 2. I dropped the boys off so they could claim their spots in front of the Apple store, and as they stood in line with 50 of their new, closest friends they found out that each customer was allowed a maximum of two iPads. The gentleman behind them wanted to get four - double his limit, so he asked Lucas to help him. In exchange for helping him to get the additional iPads this gentleman offered to pay Lucas $100. To a 12 year old kid, that was a ton of money, and he jumped at the chance to pocket some much desired cash. After they purchased their iPads, Jan and Lucas decided to spend a little extra time strolling through the mall. They walked by Teavana and were given delicious samples of different teas. Even at the age of 12, Lucas knew my love of tea, so with his newfound cash he bellied up to their tea bar and picked out what he thought I would like. His kind and thoughtful gesture may seem like just a little thing, but it was one of the biggest things to me.
I don't need big, showy things to make me happy. Give me a box of Hot Tamales, a bag of Chewy Sweet Tarts, a small bouquet of tulips, some tea or a sweet little treat from the treasure box and I'm one happy mama.
I just hope my kiddos will remember sometimes it's the littlest things that make the biggest impact.
Oh, for the love of my children...