Tuesday, December 23, 2014

If You Give A Guy A Flauta....

It is rather well-known that raising a child is expensive. Raising two is even more expensive. Raising two while also planning a wedding, running out of room in your current home, and finding a way to pay off $20,000 in student loan debt is really freaking frustrating. And expensive.

Still, Chris and I find a way to save at least a little bit of cash so that we can treat ourselves to dinner one night a month. I think it's very important to find the time and resources to celebrate our successes, our lessons, and our wild adventures together.

Yesterday, I took off work to finish my Christmas shopping (and no, I did not finish it - shopping fail), so Chris and I met for lunch at Cafe Agave for one of our monthly outings. We've been trying new places lately, and this was a spur of the moment stop. We had .so.much.food. that we had a lot of leftovers. I sent him back to the office, and then off on my merry way I went!

I found myself parked (for-ev-errrr) at a busy stoplight near the mall. I made eye contact with a discheveled man on the corner, holding a sign that read, "Disabled Vet. Anything Helps." For whatever reason, I found myself compelled to do something. I started digging around for change or cash or anything resembling money, but lo and behold, I had absolutely zero cash or coin on me. Not a cent. The only thing I could find in my sweet little fleet vehicle was a Styrofoam box with two leftover flautas from lunch. I laughed aloud, thinking, Good lord, Courtney, no man, no matter how desperate, is going to want your luke-warm man-handled leftovers.

At this point, I know the light is getting ready to turn. The man is still looking at me. I still have no money. I start to have one of those weird, panic-y, "oh my God, I have to do something, he's watching" attacks. So I rolled my window down (all the way, which is totally against the rule that my mom taught me when I was a teenager). I told him I had no money, but I had some left over food; then held my box up to the window like some sort of desperate-for-validation orphaned cartoon child. I expected him to laugh. I expected him to say no thanks. I expected him to do a million different things other than what he did.
[Yep, this was me.]

He said thank you. He wished me a Merry Christmas. And he took his sign and the Styrofoam box to the sidewalk - well away from the corner and from traffic. He sat the sign behind him so that no one saw it. He limped and crouched his way to a sitting position - and he ate my luke-warm man-handled leftovers with such delicacy, it was as if he wanted to remember every single detail. 

It was then that I realized he only had one shoe. The other foot had a sole-less shoe top on it; made to look like a shoe, only there wasn't really a bottom. I turned to face forward, and my light changed. 

Yes, both literal and proverbial lights changed.

I was so happy that he ate my leftovers, I cried my way down the road to the mall.

I'm not saying you should go give your leftovers to a stranger on the corner in order to validate a good feeling or the spirit of giving.** I'm saying that I was so worried about whether or not my gift was good enough, that I failed to realize my gift was good.

We should all stop wondering whether Aunt Bea will like her scarf. Whether Grandpa will like his popcorn. Whether your significant other will like that sweater. Whether you will like all of the gifts that you will receive this season.

The important thing to remember is that you like each other enough to give something. Anything. It doesn't matter if it's a scarf or a Lego or a leftover flauta. It doesn't matter whether the gift is good enough. It matters that you love them enough to give. It matters that you do good.

**Footnote: Really, I think this would be awesome - if you can pay for the person's Starbucks drink behind you, can't you take a sandwich to guy a street corner?

Merry Christmas, from my family to yours <3