The bus slows to a stop, the red flags of caution extend, the brakes squeak, and the folding doors slide open. She literally bounces off of the last step, identical pigtails on either side of her head flounce and she begins to skip. Because I am sitting in my vehicle behind the bus, I cannot see her pretty little face, but I know she is smiling; and I watch as she skips all the way to the back of the lot, knees reaching high as if she were in a marching band.
I was a single parent to my two sons for nine years. There was rarely a time that I didn't worry if they were getting everything that they needed; was I providing all the right things, materialistically and maternally? Was I exposing their minds and hearts to all the life they needed to see and hear about? And would I, as a woman, be enough as both mother and father for all their needs?
Now that my children are grown, I look back at all the time I wasted worrying and fretting about such things, what I could and couldn't afford. Children don’t need all the things that we buy them, and they certainly don’t need so much access to cable television or video games. What children do need is their parents; our time and attention, the guidance we should be providing, the discipline and the love.
The lot that little girl was skipping through was the parking lot of a local stay by the day/week hotel here in Quincy. As she skipped all the way to the back, I could see what appeared to be her mother sitting in a chair on the stoop of their doorway, watching her daughter get off the bus and come home. Did they lose their home? Did this woman leave her husband and this is the best she can do right now? Well, I don’t know what their fate or circumstance was, or why this is where they are calling home for now, but I do know something about what I saw and I’ll tell you what it was.
What I saw was a Mama who, no matter what hand life has dealt her, is doing all the right things. She is providing her daughter with a safe place to live for however long that needs to be, a bed to lie in, a place that provides both air and heat when needed, and love. She is providing her with love. And I know that because children are the most honest human beings you will ever meet. And any little girl who skips every step of the way to get to her Mama is one happy child.
Spend this Thanksgiving Day remembering the important things in life; your family, friends, and the good times and memories that are being created. Love covers just about any need that I know of; be plentiful, and spread as much of it as you can.