A package arrives a few days after Christmas. The writing on the package is neatly typed on an index card and taped to the package. I do not recognize the return address. I open the box and find another smaller box. Inside is a small dark blue velvet pouch. I open it and find a silver heart pin that looks like it has been around longer than me. Not quite an antique…but almost.
http://www.littlepeiadesigns.com/images/GiftWrapPresent.png I discover an envelope tucked on the bottom of the big box. Inside is a letter written on flowered stationary. It read it and a tear trickles down my cheek but I am smiling.

Dear Mrs. Drecksler,
” Years ago, you encouraged me to stay in school and work hard to become the person you knew I could be. Thank-you for believing in me. I was going through my Grandmother’s things (she recently passed away) and I found this heart pin. I thought it was a perfect gift for you!
Love, Jennifer

My mind races back to the early 90’s, when I was a substitute teacher in our middle and high school. I remember the quiet fifteen year old girl who confides in me that she is considering dropping out at when she turns sixteen. She states that no-one in her family had ever graduated high-school and didn’t care if she quit. She says her teachers do not encourage her to stick it out. We talk for hours that afternoon, my intention being to motivate her to finish high school and even consider going to college. I go home exhausted but happy that I had the chance to talk with this student.

Several years later, I see my former student in our local mall. She graduated high school, and is working in sales, hoping one day to be considered for a management position. She is even planning to sign up at the local college for a few business courses. We give each other a big hug and I tell her how proud I am to have been her teacher.

A decade later, on a cold wintry day, I receive a loving gift that warms my heart and reminds me (once again) how life, as unpredictable as it may be, can be filled with wonderful surprises.

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