This year, I thought I was too busy to commit to a traditional lunch date, so I ignored the thought of it.

He called.

I let it go to voicemail. As always, he told me who it was, wished me and my family a Merry Christmas, and that he was starting a new job the next day. He is kind and genuine, which is what I love about him.

Guilt rushed at me.

Andy was a student of mine twenty years ago. With the convenience of social media, we reconnected and learned we were both in Arizona.  Since then I have enjoyed annual birthday lunches and lavishing him with Christmas cookies over the holidays.

I texted him and asked if I could take him to lunch following his orientation.  We agreed upon Streets of NY Pizza where we scarfed garlic knots, salad, and bowls of spaghetti and meatballs.

He told me he took two buses, and walked a mile to get to his new job, and he was so excited, more than excited to be working. He talked of friends and his walks to the library for computer access, and how proud he was that he learned how to make fajitas this year.  Now he even had somewhere to sit in his apartment since some friends found him an old couch, and recently they brought him a couple of blankets so it could be his bed too.

Stop. I didn’t know.

I sat there thinking,  It is the most wonderful time of the year… but I was too busy Christmasing to take two hours out of my day for lunch. For him, a chance to enjoy fun conversation with a friend, a warm meal and a drive back to the bus station, was a gift.

I was torn between protecting and accepting, but I believe in Santa.  And Santa knows where he lives.

When we got to the bus station I took out his bag of goodies, plopped a Santa hat on his head and put a tiny Christmas tree in his back pack.  He held the leftover spaghetti and beamed!

“Mrs. Holland, (I love that he still calls me that) you brought me the Christmas spirit!”

I didn’t cry…yet.

Just when you think you might be the magic, the magic lands back in your lap.  No…gifts are not always tied up with a pretty ribbon under the tree.

On the way home I received a text that said: Thank you for the best Christmas I ever had.  

And he has no idea what a gift that was to me.


PS. This will forever be a favorite moment.2017 Favorites