It was her birthday. But this time was different, better actually...like sprinkles on an already sweet ice cream cone.
We've been doing this every year since our girls were born. We would go to the mall, push strollers, stop to nurse, window shop, change diapers. Walk. Walk. Walk. Oh! And of course the talking...which I would always seem to do the most of. She told me recently that she loves to hear my stories. They make her laugh :)
Over the years, the stroller pushing would come to a stop to watch our girls take their first steps together and changing diapers would evolve into multiple potty breaks. Then time took our girls to school and left us with open schedules to busily fill with other things. However, we've never missed having time together for our respective birthdays.
I love my Gail. I will admit she may not seem like mine. After all, she does have a very busy schedule, a husband and two beautiful girls...but she is mine. So of course when the opportunity presented itself to have lunch for her birthday, I took it!
Now since neither one of us pushes strollers anymore, I had to go shopping with her before lunch. Oh the sacrifices we make for our friends! Did I mention that Gail is THE perfect hanger? I may not be a size 0/2 but this was really going to be fun! Too bad I couldn't "fatten" her up with lunch first! (Kidding! I sincerely enjoyed her gift card. We just can't share clothes.)
The best part of the day came after selecting our seats at the Corner Bakery. It dawned on me that our food would be delivered to us and I would get a chance to ask my new nine little words. Uh, oh.
- How would I bring it up?
- What if they react negatively?
- What if they laugh at me?
- What if they spit in my food?!
"Excuse me? What's your name?"
(Here it goes!)
"Hugo, we're going to pray over our food before we eat and I was wondering (sweating profusely at this point), How can I ask God to bless you today?"
(Oh my goodness! Am I still here?! Did I pass out? Is he looking at me? Can I have a food tester please!)
"Me?", he asks with a boyish grin.
"Yes. You. How can I ask God to bless you today?"
I must admit. He looked like he had been waiting all day for someone to ask him anything at all. His inquisitive eyes seemed to answer back, "You mean, you see me? You care about me?".
His simple response: "I want to know I'm doing a good job."
His words matched his eyes. He was doing the best job he could but wanted to know if he was making an impact. He wanted to know if anyone could see, if anyone cared. He wanted to be known. Was it worth his time making sandwiches and clearing tables? Will anyone ever really take the time to know him? Will anyone simply ask his name and say, "Thank you Hugo!"
Those questions in his deep dark brown eyes helped guide my prayers for Hugo. Yes, Hugo. There is someone who knows you by name and knows you. And I will ask Him to pour out a blessing on you. May you get to know Him and may He make an impact in your life as these nine little words are making in mine.
And so it was. One more memory added for Gail and I to share on birthdays. It might go something like this:
Who knew nine little words could be so sweet!
"Lunch? Yes Gail. Of course. Oh! Remember that first year we went to the Corner Bakery and met Hugo? Where should we go this year to get sprinkles on our ice cream cone?"