A knock on the front door, barely audible, broke into a conversation with Tanya over a cup of coffee. Without a word she left her seat at the kitchen bench and headed for the front door. Shortly after she reappeared with a box in her hand. It was shoe box in size, square in shape.
Turning the box over, I could see it was sent by Merryn. I was interested. Scissors found in a draw, the tape on the box carefully cut. Jacinta, then Jessica appeared from nowhere and began to ask, “Who is it from”. Tanya, intent on getting the package open ignored the question. “It is from Merryn?” said Jessica. A level of excitement surrounded the kitchen bench.
I watched fascinated as Tanya having cut away the final bits of tape, opened the lid of the package. I had a glimpse of the contents, as small hands reached in and began to remove the contents. They were laying on the bench, some picked up others cuddled then put down as more items were discovered. I was surprised. It was orderly, excited. As each content from the box emerged, it was appraised, then put down to pick up another.
Then the conversations began. The dialogue between mother and daughters increased as different items from the package were being explored in detail. There was the stuffed monster, a cuddly light blue cloth toy. The fabric soft and gentle on the skin. “What is that?” I asked “It’s my bowling man” she said. “I’ve called him Bowley”. “So, who is going to keep Bowley I asked”? “I am”, said Jacinta as she cuddled it. “I will name him Bowley because he looks like a bowling pin”.
“What is special about Bowley?” I asked. “He is handmade. I like his big button eye, his smiley face and his shape. I will have to hide Bowley in the background when we have young explorers”. “What else did you enjoy from the magic box”? I asked Jacinta “I thought the face masks were cool. They are hand made with different pattens and colours.” “They are a bit big though” said Jacinta. “Perhaps they were made for your mum and dad” I said. “Yes, maybe” said Jacinta. “I like them and think they are cute”.
Jessica was sitting on a high stool at the bench. She was reading what appeared to be an instruction sheet. What is that you have?”, I asked, as she continued to read the sheet. “It’s instructions” she responded. “Is that so. Instructions to do what?” was my gently response. “To make a pom-pom” said Jessica. All attention was focused on the instructions. I sensed my question was an intrusion into Jessica’s space. It then occurred to me that I would have tackled this problem differently. I would have attempted to make it, then, when that failed, read the instructions.
Tanya had found a note for the parent and was reading it. She looked up, watched the girls already involved in their small projects. She rustled through the contents from the magic box, now scattered on the kitchen bench. She saw two tea bags and reached over. “I will have those, and the coffee bags as well”, she said quietly. “This is a nice thing for Merryn to do for the kids”. By the way you left me at the kitchen bench, I think it was a bit more than just the girls interest you had in mind.” “Perhaps a little self-interest” I suggested. “Tanya scoffed at that suggestion as only she can, her fingers continued to run over the surprises laying spread around the kitchen bench.
Jessica, with instructions in front of her began to get a feel for her new project. I am going to make a pom-pom”, was her comment to her mother. “Have you ever made a pom-pom mum?” “Yes”, she responded. “Grandma helped me make one when I was about your age”. “How did you make yours?” was Jessica’s response. “Not sure” said Tanya. “I do remember it took me a long time. I would do a bit, put it down and then later do a bit more. It seemed to take me forever. I remember cutting the wool when I thought I had enough wool loops.It turned out good” suggested Tanya. “Do you still have it”? ask Jessica. “No” said Tanya. “No idea what I did with it. I do remember cutting those wool strings and watching the pom-pom emerge in my hand. It felt really good” she said.
“What’s the go with the wooden spoon”, I asked as I picked it up from the bench. Silence. “Jessica, do you know why there is a wooden spoon in the magic box”? I asked. “Yes”, she said, with a frown. It was that ‘leave me alone’ frown. I’m busy. Then quite matter of fact she said “you paint it different colours and leave it in the park at the end of the street.” Mmm! That is interesting. Why would you do something like that I thought to myself.
I had become a quiet observer of a special moment. A family had received a magic box. As I wandered out to my car, I was again reminded of all those special people in our faith community who bring joy to a family in difficult times. So many loving hands, so much love shared through a simple magic box.