Now a story about my Ashley, originally written in December, 2005:

An angel lives at my house. Actually, I'm sure a few live here, but appear at various times.

I've talked about Ashley here -- my sweet almost-10-year-old who gets so little press here because she goes on her way, following each rule religiously.

When she was little she had a wild blob of golden curls all over her head. She did look like an angel. A little bossy on occasion, but an angel. I wish I had a picture here of the wild, curly, angel hair.

This year she started in Abilene's ALPS program. I have no idea what ALPS stands for, but it's the off-campus gifted program for 3rd-5th graders in Abilene. One day a week, the ALPS kids leave their home campus and go to an ALPS class on a different campus. Early in the school year, Ashley talked about how annoying a boy I'll call "Jeff" was. We talked about that sometimes annoying people are annoying because they need friends, and just try to be extra patient with him. Several weeks ago, the ALPS teacher told the class that Jeff's dad was real sick and he was going through a tough time at home and try to be kind. Again, we discussed that you never know what people are going through, so still be extra patient with Jeff.

Last week, the teacher (with the family's permission) told the ALPS class that Jeff had just learned that his father was going to die. Ashley told me this on the way home from school. IMMEDIATELY after she got in the car. We talked about how awful it would be to be in 4th grade and know that your Daddy was going to die. She sat quietly for not very long and asked, "Would it be all right if I gave some toffee and peanut brittle (our standard teacher Christmas gifts) to Jeff?" You betcha -- extra toffee and peanut brittle, coming up!

Monday was Riley's PTO Christmas program. I didn't make the connection until Monday morning, but the kid was SICK all day Sunday. Finally, when he woke up Monday morning, he cried that he didn't want to go to school. He didn't want to be embarassed! (We're probably going to have to re-think the whole comedian thing) Between wandering to his room laying down ultimatims for him to get out of bed and then get dressed, I told Ashley not to say ANYTHING about the program to him. She didn't say anything to me or anyone else, but very quietly set about making his breakfast, even pouring his orange juice. Bless her punkin' heart. Then, as I was scrambling to catch up on my morning, she started talking to him about how she felt when she did her program. I came back in the room and they were laughing it up about the program. She made him breakfast, then talked him out of his tree! I never would have been able to, but the sweet thing did it!

This morning was the last ALPS class before Christmas. When we were all eating breakfast together (all _4_ of us -- that NEVER happens; a Christmas miracle in itself!!) Ashley was writing a letter to Jeff to go with his toffee and peanut brittle. She never showed it to me, and it very well may have all those things that you shouldn't say to hurting people, but the heart behind it was pure gold. The first line read, "I'm so sorry your dad is sick." That's all I saw, and that is plenty. What a precious, precious heart that angel has.

If you see my Christmas angel, you'll recognize her right off: she rarely brushes her hair, she enjoys wearing mis-matched socks, and frequently is wearing her lunch on her shirt. But if you look really closely, you can see her halo.

Another Ashley story:
My Daughter is my Sister!


Warren Baldwin said...

Neat story! When my son (now 23) was about 5, he heard an announcement about someone at church being sick. When we got home he asked his mom, "Do you think we should bake them some brownies and take them to him?" Mom just said, "Yes Wes, I think we should. Good idea."

Where did Wes get such a good idea at age 5? From watching his mom do it. And your daughter is mature and caring way beyond her age because she has watched someone mentor that kindness to her for years. Good job!

Scott F said...

I am so proud of her! She is a blessing to so many already!

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