As a human being our lives are very much oriented with give and take. Most of us love to do both, actually I have noticed that the happiness on giving is not taught to a child, but they start doing it spontaneously one day.
I vaguely remember from my childhood that I loved to bring back things first for my mother like flowers, leaves, paintings, small pebbles and then for my brother and sister some toffees or chocolates got from celebration of some friend's birthdays at school. I used to feel very happy for that, little proud too. But I never knew then that in future I will be a receiver too, and a lucky one.
Yes, 'J' has been going to a day care from her age of 7 months. I used to put a paper tissue in her pocket, just in case she needs it. In the beginning she used to come back with her pocket full of sand and dry leaves, as they used to play a lot in 'Sandkasten' (German for Sandbox). I used to laugh at her on checking her pockets and she would give a sweet smile.
Then slowly I don't know when, may be when she was 2 years, she started keeping small things in her pocket, like leaves, stones, flowers, small plastic pearls, and during pick up time she would take them out from her pocket and would say "here is something for you".
After whole day of work, that used to be 'the moment' for me. Those small hands giving something to me, was a symbol of her thinking about me during the day.
Then started the plethora of art and craft she would do in her several day cares, and used to bring something or other at home, sometimes one for papa and one for mama, sometimes one for both papa and mama and sometimes even more. She would make a girl with orange hair, as that was her 'Pippi Longstockings'. She would bring paper snakes, color chakras (wheels) and so on.
I have not reciprocated to her giving gesture in that way, I sometimes had bought some small thing for her, but not everyday. But 'J' has continued her giving to me.
In recent years of her school going, the things have matured, now sometimes she gives me a list of things she wants to buy on Saturday, or a list of name of friends she desires to invite for a sleepover party. She also gives several greeting cards, art works using stamps, beads, buttons and of course colors. Paper crafts in the form of birds, elephants, butterfly, boat, fans and flowers are some other things she often gives me in the evening. Bracelets made from wool, threads, pearls and buttons have been other things found in her pocket recently. For my birthdays in last two years, she made pictures for me at her after school club, to give me a surprise. Before her daddy comes she gets very busy in after school and makes elaborate love hearts and greeting cards for her daddy. She makes these things and keep them at after school and bring them home only on the day.
Recently she gave a farewell party to her friends, as we will be leaving soon. We decided for a goody bag with some fun stuff and two days before the party, she gave me 14 square Mandalas, colored by her in after school. She said, she actually made a team and asked for help from some other girls too to color the Mandalas. I was impressed!
This ritual has been started by 'J' and may be she will not even remember when she will grow up, or very vaguely, but I will never forget the happiness, smile, fondness I have experienced over the years by peeping into my little girl's pocket.