I woke up Thursday morning feeling more tired than I went to bed - if that's even possible - and, though I wasn't sure why, I woke up feeling melancholy as well. Just exhausted, emotionally and physically. Maybe it's because it was the first year in ten years that I haven't been able to attend the Character Education Partnership Forum which was kicking off that day, maybe because I miss my college girl, maybe because our "new normal" is a bit overwhelming right now. The last thing I wanted to do was to rush off to school. I decided to treat myself to a venti Cinnamon Dolce at Starbucks to help soothe my sadness. Yummy, right? I wasn't too sure about the wisdom of THAT decision when I turned the corner out of the parking lot a little tight and that cup of costly coffee poured itself into my lap. Really? Wearing my java on my jeans, I had to go back home to change my clothes and it took everything. I. had. to get back into that car and drive myself to work.
All of that happened before 7:30 a.m. I don't mind telling you that I wasn't in the best of moods when I headed out to the front for car-line duty, but in good-Ron-Clark fashion, I was determined to fake it until I felt it. Fortunately car-rider duty is my favorite, so I put on that signature smile and started opening car doors like I meant it. That's when Zachary's car pulled up. He's in kindergarten this year, so I don't know this little PeaceMaker very well, but my morning instantly turned around when I saw his sweet face smiling an outrageously B.I.G. smile at me. He handed me a box to hold while I helped him get down from the back seat of a car that seemed to swallow him up. When I attempted to return the box, he smiled bigger than before - if that's even possible - and said, "Nope, that's for you!" And then, I. LOST. it.
Sure, I was teary-eyed earlier, but now I was totally crying. (Please don't let him see me cry, please don't let him see me cry!) Tears of joy this time. From his little hand and big heart came a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies with a note that read: Thank you for your smile every morning! It means a lot! Love, Zachary C. There could have been a toad in this box and it wouldn't have mattered . . . that message meant the world to me. What started out as a not-too-many-reasons-to-rejoice kind of morning instantly turned into an I-can-do-this sort of day, thanks to one random act of kindness from a boy and his mom to comfort a counselor on the curb who was struggling to smile.