Once upon a time, there was a little girl named, Suzie. She loved to be in the kitchen with her dad, Steve, especially on days when he baked cookies. Steve said, “I have an idea, let’s bake extra cookies that we can take to our neighbors! We can just make chocolate chip, or we can make several different flavors!” Suzie noticed a twinkle in his eyes. She grinned from ear to ear as she replied, “Sounds like fun! You turn on the oven, and I’ll get the flour. We can bring the cookies to our neighbors within the hour.” The two of them talked while they mixed and stirred. Suzie laughed at her dad who tried to sing a song, but didn’t know all the words. Soon their whole house filled with laughter and yummy scents. When the cookies were finally ready, to the neighbors’ houses they went.
Each person who answered their door was surprised to see Suzie and her dad. When they saw their plate of cookies, they looked so excited and glad! Mrs. Jones even giggled and gave Suzie a kiss on her cheek. She said, “Thank you for the cookies! Please do come back for dinner here next week.” Merry greetings such as this went on and on at each house they passed. When only one plate of cookies remained, they realized Mr. Smith’s house was last. Mr. Smith was a very kind man who lived all alone. When he answered the door and saw Suzie and Steve, his whole face shone. Mr. Smith beamed as he said, “I am so grateful for visitors to talk to, please come sit down with me in the living room.” They all talked about work, school, and books they had read. Hours passed, and finally they realized it was time for bed. Suzie and her dad waved goodbye. They didn’t see it, but Mr. Smith had a tear in his eye. To Mr. Smith, their time and the plate of cookies were magnificent gifts.
The next day, Suzie was walking home and thinking back on the night before. It had been so fun to bake cookies with her dad, and bring them to their neighbors’ doors. She decided sitting with Mr. Smith was her favorite part. She thought it might be nice to visit him more often, and today, which is Valentine’s Day, seemed like a good time to start! Suzie thought, “I’ll make a card for Mr. Smith as this would be a kind thing”. When she got home, she gathered supplies like paper, markers, and a piece of red string. Suzie wrote a lovely note and drew a pink heart, then tied it closed with a little red bow. Then Suzie and her dad walked down the lane to Mr. Smith’s house in the snow.
That evening, they all laughed while they played marbles and then board games. Soon Mr. Smith asked, “Will you please call me by my first name, James?” Suzie, Steve, and James had delightful conversations and so much fun; it was obvious a new friendship had begun.
Time passed from Valentine’s Day into late Spring. During this time they all realized they liked similar things. Weekly meetings had come and gone. During a recent one, Suzie and James discovered their favorite dessert isn’t actually cookies, it’s bon bons! Mr. Smith, or James as they now called him, became a regular part of their lives and activities. Over the next year, all three of them gathered together for many different types of festivities. Their friendship has brought them as close as peas in a pod. All three have formed a very unique and special bond.
One sunny, Summer afternoon, all three were in their favorite spots in James’s living room. Steve was on the chaise lounge, and James was sitting in his armchair. Suzie’s favorite place is on the couch, where she can snuggle with the cat, Alistair. She began to think about all that they experienced together so far this year. Suzie looked at her dad, then at James; her eyes became wet with tears. She had no idea that a plate of cookies would come to mean so much. From one act of kindness, all three of their lives had truly been touched.
Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to give your love away! You can share it every day in a variety of ways: you can say kind words, write them down, or give someone a hug. Love is greeting your mom in the morning, with coffee in a pretty mug. You can help your dad look for his glasses to show him you care. You can even give high-fives and always remember to share. You can seek out the lonely and make new friends. You can make such a difference with the time you spend. The most wonderful thing about love is what happens when you give it away. It doesn’t go far before it returns to you, sort of like a boomerang. When you share your love without expecting anything in return, that is how you know it’s real. When kindness is in your heart, love is what you feel.
Happy Valentine’s Day!