We’ve just come through a divisive, difficult national election that was preceded by riots and thugs who’ve used the unrest to create havoc and help themselves to jewelry, flat screen televisions, and whatever else they could grab or vandalize. We’re still dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic that has the world in an uproar.
Because I’d like to lift your spirits for this new year, I want to tell you about my adopted daughter, Sherri. She has an uncanny ability to see the best in other people, to find enjoyment in the most boring situations and to notice what others need. She’s a family legend. Sherri literally brightens a room when she enters it.
Sherri’s birth mother was an alcoholic, so Sherri has struggled all her life with the effects of a debilitating condition that affects her both mentally and physically. Yet, unlike many people who would use such a situation to justify failure in life, Sherri has chosen to rise above her afflictions and to enrich everyone who comes in contact with her.
A typical experience illustrates what I mean. About 15 of us had gone out to dinner to a popular restaurant (this was before COVID struck). Several people went to the restroom, as did Sherri, but she took a long time coming back. When she finally did, she just remarked that the facilities had been crowded and she’d helped someone. The party continued.
A few minutes later, a woman came up to Sherri and hugged her; Sherri, with customary cheeriness, hugged her back but frowned in puzzlement.
The woman laughed, “You shouldn’t be surprised by strangers hugging you!” Then told me what my daughter had done.
The woman’s elderly mother had gone into the restroom by herself and Sherri had found her sitting in a stall with vomit down the front of her dress. When the woman had come in to find her mother, Sherri had just finished wiping up the mess. Some people would have clucked to themselves about anybody allowing the old lady to be alone; others would have gone to find help, but Sherri just saw what needed to be done and did it.
Sweet Sherri, I join the rest of your family and everybody who has ever known you in wishing you every happiness. We celebrate the fact you were born and continue to bless us with your love. You are the one who calls your siblings on their birthdays to sing into their answering machines. You are the one who worries about somebody feeling sad or slighted; and you are the one who always knows when a hug, a phone call or a plate of cookies is needed.
Sometimes, you feel overwhelmed by the demands of your five lively children. Two babies a year apart mean you often arrive at the end of the day thinking you haven’t accomplished much. You’ve rocked one while she screamed herself to sleep with teething pain and cleaned up after the other who had investigated what would happen if she pulled the nipple out of her sister’s bottle—all while trying to fold 10 loads of laundry and fry two pounds of chicken.
Take heart: In only a few years, your house will be quiet, like mine, and you’ll be able to enjoy grandchildren while you dispense advice your grown up kids may or may not listen to.