My niece handed me a round sticker with the face of an alligator that said, "See you later, alligator."
I was headed out of town and had stopped by to see her. I don't know why, but the gesture really touched me. Even though this happened many years ago, I still remember it. And I carried that sticker in my wallet for years. Somewhere along the way, I took it out, intending to put it in my new wallet and never did. I could kick myself for that. But I've got it stashed away somewhere. It'll be a nice surprise when I come across it again.
When that same niece was maybe five or six, she also wrote a short note to me on a small piece of paper: "Uncle Lee, I love you very much. When can we play together?" That note is securely stashed in my wallet.
I was always the goofy uncle – the one who got down on all fours and played horsey with her or "throw the Dee Dee" (a "game" we invented, which wasn't really a game; it consisted of throwing her Raggedy Ann doll toward the ceiling while we were lying flat on our backs and then trying to catch it, causing her to cackle with each throw). So whenever I was around, she wanted to play.
She's over thirty now and has her own little one. And I've tried to be the goofy great uncle for him too. Our thing is water guns. He loves hot summer days when he can douse Uncle Lee. He cackles as he shoots one stream of water after another at me. I pretend like I have no defense, and he cackles some more. It's my favorite sound in the world. It reminds me so much of when his mom was his age.
This little trip down memory lane got me thinking. It's funny how a simple gesture such as handing someone a sticker or a short note can mean so much, many years later. And it has strengthened my resolve to do that for others.
Doing so in some tangible ways seems preferable. Sending a text or picking up the phone is fine, but handing someone a sticker, of sorts, has more of a chance of … well, sticking.
At the risk of sounding like Jennifer Garner in a Capital One commercial, what's in your wallet (or purse) that means a great deal to you? And what’s the significance?