Today’s post is an essay written by one of my English Composition I students, Jessica Bacon. Jessica was a true blessing in my life this semester; she’s an ideal student, a loving mom, and a caring person. She is certainly a true elevator person to all those she encounters, lifting others up and not tearing them down. Not only that, but she also worked her tail off this semester and improved her writing skills by leaps and bounds. Merry Christmas, Jessica!
“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.” (Charles Dudley Warner) Gifts come in many shapes and forms. Some may only consider presents that can be unwrapped or objects that can be associated with a monetary value as gifts. Others can see the gift in things they cannot physically hold. I like presents just as much as anybody else, but the best gifts are those I cannot put a dollar sign on. Reflecting on this year, I know I have so much to be thankful for, but the gifts that stand out are the ones with sentimental value that will leave a lifetime of memories.
Considering that there are 2,129 miles between my home in Evening Shade, Arkansas, and my mom’s house in Vancouver, Washington, we do not see each other often. In June, my mom flew out to visit. As she walked through the airport terminal, I could see her smiling from ear to ear with tears streaming down her cheeks. I could feel the love radiating through her when she hugged me. During the week she was here, we watched my girls’ softball games, shopped, swam, cooked, and laughed until our bellies hurt. Our housed smelled like a Bath and Body Works store from the array of candles and body products she bought for us. My mom made us her Puerto Rican rice, chicken, and beans. The garlic, green olives, and tomato sauce in the rice made an interesting combination of flavors. Because Mom was recovering from shoulder surgery, she had to do her physical therapy exercises while she was here. I loved watching my youngest daughter Carly running around her yelling, “Can’t shit (how she said catch) me, Gamma!!” while Mom did her exercises. We will forever cherish the memories we made with her. The real gift was Mom’s presence rather than the presents that she bought us.
Having four kids and multiple crazy schedules to work around, date nights and alone time are far and few between for my husband and I. In August, our friend Robyn offered to watch our four girls so we could go out for our eleventh anniversary. I knew that my babies were in good hands, so I was able to relax and enjoy my childless evening. We went to Patio Lino Latin Restaurant for dinner. When we walked into the crowded building the aroma of the food tantalized my nostrils, and the buffet in the corner caught my eye. The flavor of the shrimp was so amazing that I could not stop eating it despite the intense heat. My mouth and lips were on fire, and it made my nose run. After dinner we went to Wal-Mart and bought season six of Sons of Anarchy to watch at home. I fell asleep on the couch snuggled up to my husband with the feeling of his heart beating against my back while listening to the story of Jax Teller and the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club.
I attended my first semester of college this fall. On my first day, I was so nervous and worried that I would be the oldest one in my classes. When I entered my first class I saw students of all ages and several who appeared old enough to be my parents. At first Intermediate Algebra was a struggle. I spent many hours in the Student Success Center where there was a constant bustle of students, the strong scent of coffee, and varying tutoring sessions could be overheard.
Knowledge is a gift, and my first semester was successful.