Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Praise Is Precious; Keep It in Your Memory Box

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Praise Is Precious; Keep It in Your Memory Box

Article excerpt

Byline: Elizabeth Seney

I was driving on Third Street South in Jacksonville Beach this morning when I noticed a very dirty minivan one lane over. I would have never given the vehicle a second glance except that written in the dust and grime on the back windshield was the declaration, "I love my dad."

If that van belonged to me I wouldn't wash the windshield for a year. That sentence was more precious than a dozen award-winning school essays, more delicious than an entire box of Godivas and more beautiful than any bouquet of store-bought flowers. If our children only knew how much power they hold over our hearts.

Last month, in the middle of the day, I received a text message on my cell phone from my college son. It read, "I luv u mom." I have to admit that for an hour I anticipated a follow-up message requesting funds but none came. Apparently, it was just a spontaneous burst of affection. I still have that message on my phone. I'll probably keep it for a year (or until my phone dies). Come to think of it, I might just take a picture of the message and put it in the memory box my husband gave me many Christmases ago.

When I first received my memory box that Christmas morning, I wasn't sure what I would put in it. Today it is so crammed with mementos the lid won't shut properly. I have beautiful love letters from my husband, notes of thanks from a classroom of fourth-graders, letters from people who were touched by something they read in one of my columns (I keep them all!) and words of congratulations and encouragement from friends and family. I even have notes my kids scribbled on scraps of paper and left for me on the kitchen table that for some reason touched my heart. Of course, it doesn't take much. I am a mom, after all.

I've decided that every person needs a memory box. It's good for the soul. …

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