I’d like to tell you something about the retirement gift you left on my desk last year on my very last day of being a school librarian. I was just about to walk out the door when I saw it lying there. I knew that by then you were back in class, and I knew if I said good-bye to one more person I would start to cry. I also knew that, once started, I would have a hard time stopping. I was leaving so much behind—my career, my school, my library, my friends, and my wonderful students. So, I tucked your present into my pocket and continued on my way. When we got to our new home in a new state where I didn’t know anyone, I put your gift on my bedside table, with its little note still attached.
I don’t even know what to call the little gadget you gave me. I guess it’s a desk toy, shaped like a little hourglass. It reminds me of a tiny lava lamp, and when it is turned over the bubbles shift into a new design. Every time I see it, I turn it over and think about you. It brings back all my old school memories. When I turn the little “fidget gadget” over--
-I remember when you first came to school, a brand new first grader and a good reader already.
-I picture your cute little-boy "skater" haircut.
-I think about how kind you were to your classmates in 2nd grade, even when they weren’t being lovable.
-I remember your first disagreement with your best friend, and how hurt you were.
-I think about the tragedy that struck your family. It was way too much sadness for a little boy. Even the adults at school were worried about what to say when you came back, but you put us all at ease with your matter-of-fact approach and frank words.
-I picture your kind smile.
You are almost a whole year older now, a big third grader. Even though I mailed you a thank you note for the gift long ago, you have probably forgotten all about it. Perhaps the gifts we give that we hardly notice can turn out to be the most important ones.
Bradley, I just wanted you to know how much you gave in a moment you might not even remember. Funny, it’s just a little gift for which I have no name, but it means all the world to me.