On our way out the door on Halloween evening for our trick or treating, I spotted what appeared to be an over-zealous Rhiannon carrying two bags. While I admire her vision, I approached her and said “Sweetheart, you only need one bag.” She looked up, her big blue eyes looking at me as if to say “Why would you get in the way of what I’m about to do…” It wasn’t until Jody, her mother, my wife, came up to me and told me what was in one of the bags.
Earlier that day, Rhiannon came home from school, and like she tends to do, went to her room and closed the door. Jody said she spent a couple of hours in her room that afternoon. She came out of her room, walked determined to the kitchen and grabbed the box of snack-sized ziploc bags from the appropriate drawer, and walked ever so determined back to her room. Still, Jody is clueless as to what she is up to, other than wasting an entire box of ziploc bags on some role-playing project she immerses herself in on a regular basis.
Upon emerging from her room, ready to go out for the evening, Rhiannon explained what she had done. She hand-crafted Thank You cards to give to the people at the homes we would knock at during our trick or treating. Each card had a hand drawn and colored pumpkin on it, wrapped diligently in a snack-sized ziploc bag. At this point I’m in shock, the magnitude of what she had done simply had not sunk in yet.
So as we walked to each house, I watched my Rhiannon walk up, say “trick or treat” along with her brother and cousins, and receive her candy. She would quickly run back to her mother, who was holding the other bag, grab a card, and run back to give it to the person who had given her the candy. The look on the faces of these people spanned from annoyed, to puzzled, to thankful and to stopped-dead-in-their-tracks amazed. The last home we went to, was a neighbor of Rhiannon’s cousins, whom we spent the evening with prior to going out. He had just recently lost his wife and has been struggling. Rhiannon walked up to him, held out her hand with the thank you card in it to offer him. He accepted it, opened it and smiled warmly. He looked up at her and said, “This is the first gift I’ve ever received on Halloween.”
As tears welled in my eyes and love swelled in my heart, the magnitude I referred to earlier struck me in that moment. My daughter is a gift. She had just littered gifts across a neighborhood on a night in which the giving goes in an opposite direction. She is 5 years old. I’ve really been thinking heavily lately about how I can include my daughter at such a young age in this practice of being warm, inviting, welcoming, loving and accepting of all people. On Halloween, I think perhaps she showed me that it is already happening. I can’t believe how proud I was that night and am always of her. What a gift a simple gesture can be. What a lesson she taught that night.
Well done Rhiannon…well done!