“It’s Jack’s fifth birthday today,” Grandpa said, grinning at me. “He’s picking out donuts for his party this afternoon.”
I returned the smile and waited patiently while Jack made his selections. I must admit that little Jack had been trained on how to handle donuts; he properly made his selections using the provided tissue papers. His little pink hands didn’t touch any, although a few donuts squished like Play-Doh in his grasp. Jack selected two dozen tasty treats. He grabbed anything dripping with chocolate or covered with colorful sprinkles or swirls.
Just as he finished loading his box I joked, “Are you going to leave any good ones for me?”
Jack hugged Grandpa’s leg for protection and didn’t say anything.
When they walked away to pay the cashier I made my selection. It was fortunate that before entering the store I’d decided on bran muffins because, well, you can guess why. Jack hadn’t chosen any muffins so I was left with an ample selection. I grabbed a few and bagged them. I couldn’t help noticing that Jack’s box of donuts had looked like a party in a box while my selection hung in a plastic bag like dog poo.
In spite of the early hour there was a long line at the cash register. Another register
was opened and shoppers moved over to it. I found myself in line behind Jack and his grandpa.
Jack, still eying me cautiously, focused on the brown lumps dangling in my bag. He moved away from Grandpa, walked up to me and said, “I’m sorry; I guess I did take all the good ones. If you want, you can have some of the donuts in my box.”
I was on the verge of explaining why I needed bran this morning but decided against it. “Thanks, Jack. But I’m fine with these muffins. Have a happy birthday today.”
He smiled at me and waved goodbye as Grandpa paid for the donuts and led him away.
Thinking about Jack and his generosity will warm me for the rest of the day. Although it’s Jack’s birthday, a day when he will undoubtedly be showered with presents, I’m certain that today I'm the one receiving the best gift.
When was the last time you received a gift from a child?