Last year, I decided to participate in the Secret Pal program at work. It was my first year there, but I figured it would be a good way to emerge myself in to the stuff that goes on, and show that I'm a team player that likes to enjoy fun activities.
At the beginning of the year, all those participating filled out a sheet, we turned them in, and then selected names from a bucket. The expectation was to buy a small gift each month for the person we selected, and to also buy stuff for holidays.
I was blessed last year with an awesome Secret Pal. All year long, I received the nicest gifts for various reasons and occasions...and sometimes just because. And, it always put a big smile on my face to get to work one morning to discover a gift waiting for me. One morning, I arrived at school and actually teared up when I discovered a Thirty One bag hanging on my door handle containing crocheting items. I already had a couple of Thirty One items, a lunch box and huge tote, and I was given a smaller tote, perfect for carrying my teaching stuff home in each weekend, matching the style of my other two bags. Throughout the year I also received a zebra striped Scentsy to plug in to my wall, a Bath and Body works gift set, a Charming Charlie gift card, and on the day of the reveal received a Snow Cone maker. My secret pal ended up being the school nurse, and she sure did spoil me rotten the entire year.
I wasn't the greatest Secret Pal in the world. Well, not near as good as my secret pal was to me. I often forgot to do a monthly gift, and so I ended up going a couple of months and then compensating by putting together a gift basket for my Secret Pal to apologize for missing out on getting stuff.
I enjoyed it so much last year, that I decided to have another go this year.
I'm trying to be a much better secret pal this year. But, once again, I have been blessed with an amazing Secret Pal. Not only has my Secret Pal surprised me with some amazing gifts, but it seems as though my Secret Pal has been tuned in to me somehow.
During the first couple of months of school, I had some pretty rough days. Days where my frustration level reached an all time high. Days when nothing seemed to be going my way. Days where I doubted everything I was doing and my abilities to make any sort of impact on the students in my room. Days where I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry until May.
On each one of those days, everything would be made better when I would come in to my classroom from recess or taking my kids to lunch or arriving at school the next day to a small gift from my secret pal that somehow restored my faith in whatever it was I was upset about.
The time I was majorly frustrated, I received a card with the words "You Done Good" on the front. A cute, heartwarming poem had been typed up and glued to the inside of the card. And it really touched my heart and made me feel so much less frustrated. On the day where nothing seemed to be going my way, I received a journal to write down my thoughts and notes. It reminded me that journaling (my blog, mostly) was my outlet for letting those negative feelings go, and that everything would be OK once I'd written stuff down. One the day where I doubted everything I was doing, I received a magnet with the most beautiful little passage written on it that it made me bawl like a baby:
Has anyone ever told you what a wonderful person you are?
Just in case you haven't heard these words in a while. I want you to hear them now. You deserve to know that...
It takes someone special to do what you do. It takes someone rare and remarkable to make the lives of everyone around them nicer, brighter, and more beautiful. It takes someone who has a big heart, and a caring soul. It takes someone who's living proof of how precious a person can be.
It takes someone like you.
How amazingly touching and beautiful that passage is, right? It couldn't have arrived on a more perfect day. And I now keep that magnet firmly on my desk, and look at it and read it several times a day. It helps me stop, breath, and remind myself that everything is going to be fine...and that I just get upset and frazzled because I care so much.
Whoever my secret pal is either has extremely good timing, or is someone pretty close to me and is aware of some of the struggles I've been facing this year.
The only part that's tough about the secret pal program is the secret part. I don't know how many times already I've wanted to just run to whoever my secret pal is and give them a big hug for making my day brighter and finding the perfect little way to cheer me up.
Even the gifts that have arrived that haven't been somehow cosmically connected to a tough day have put a big smile on my face. Flowers to celebrate a short work week. A purple zebra striped pen that scrolls a cute little poem when you click it. A keychain that says "I love teaching". A bag of trail mix. Small gifts, yet extremely powerful and perfect.
My secret pal also knows that I love poetry or shares my love of poetry. Almost every gift I've received has been sent with a handwritten (or typed I should say) poem.
I figured that with these thirty days of being thankful, I just had to throw in how thankful I am for my secret pal. I have no idea if she reads my blog. I'm assuming it's a "she". I don't think any of the guys I work with participate. That would be kinda awkward to find out that it's a guy...but I'm not going to worry too much about that.
I hope that my secret pal does read my blog. It would, hopefully, shed some light about how grateful I am for her. How much she has already done for me in the few months we've been back in school. How the gifts I've received have impacted my days, moods, and feelings.
If she doesn't read, then maybe someone does that knows who my secret pal is and can pass this along to them.
But, regardless, I want anyone and everyone that reads my blog to know that I have, once again, an amazing secret pal this year....and for that, I am truly thankful.