I wrote the following entry about a year ago, when my daughter was but 2 1/2 and stamps were 39cents instead of 41. I found it the other day while I was searching through my writing folder in Word. While reviewing it, I am reminded of the lessons learned and I stop to think about how much I've grown just in the last year with my patience and my understanding of the way a child's mind- particularly Angelina's- works. One of the things I pray for most, especially when it comes to my children, is patience. It has been one of the hardest things for me to learn and has been quite elusive since I've had children. But I know that God is always patient with us, His children, and He expects us to be just as patient with our children. In the situation described below, patience plays a huge role in my dealing with my daughter and we both learn a lesson in the value of not just a stamp but of how my patience with her allows for moments of joy.
The Value of a 39¢ Stamp
My daughter loves stickers. And when I say stickers, I don’t mean just real stickers with glitter and cute pictures and fancy colors, I mean anything that is sticky….That’s a sticker to her. She always peels the produce code stickers off the tomatoes, the DOLE stickers off the bananas, the “REMOVE” stickers off of the wipes bags….But what she REALLY loves is going into my purse and pulling out my “stickers,” other wise known as stamps. Usually, I just have the standard American Flag stamps but occasionally, I have flowers or snowflakes or some tribute to a classic star or icon.
Lately it’s been the flags, though, and no matter how hard I try to hide my flags, she finds them. I am semi absent-minded and often leave my purse unsuspectingly on the floor by the door or in a chair or on the table….always within her reach. My husband always scolds me for it, especially when the contents end up strewn about the floor or table, the stickiness of my lip gloss smeared everywhere, including my child’s face, receipts crumpled and thrown as if our entire house were a trash bin.
And then there are my stamps. American Flags stuck to every surface imaginable, tattered and crinkled, piled and stuck together and sometimes ripped in half. And why do I get so angry? Not because she did something that I know somewhere within her 2.5 year old mind she knows is wrong, but more specifically, because they are stamps. Beloved, valuable, can’t send a letter or bill with out them-Stamps. Would I be so upset if she took 39 cents from my purse and lost it? Even if it was several times in the same period of mischief? No, I wouldn’t. For some reason, stamps have a value that goes beyond the 39 cents and I’m not sure why. In my mind, having lost the innocence of a child, having forgotten what it’s like to discover such a find as an entire book of “stickers,” having never had the freedom to express myself through sticker art, I can’t fathom why anyone, even a 2.5 year old, would waste stamps like this.
But as I look into her big blue eyes, as she stares at me with stamps stuck to her cheek, her shirt, her socks, and the lip gloss gleams with glittery sweetness across her face, I realize that my idea of the value of a 39¢ stamp is not even close to the value of a happy 2.5 year old who just found a wonderful, priceless treasure.