Yesterday afternoon, my family was given an impromptu visit by a former neighbor, one we haven't seen in twelve years.
Nichole was the quiet but extremely intelligent and talented girl who lived three houses away. We knew she would find her way and she has. Nicole thanked us for being part of her childhood and we were delighted when she reminded us over tea and coffee of the things we did and said years ago.
We also shared our memories with her. I particularly remember the afternoon she received her first college acceptance (one of many) and her joyous cheer at the communal mailbox. I had been recently reminded of her as just one month ago, our youngest received her first college acceptance and experienced the same style of cheer in our own home.
The visit by Nicole was certainly one of the best surprise gifts of the season. Each of us have the ability to give little embers to each other, to inspire, encourage, warm and comfort. Let us all light little sparks in our neighbors and friends this upcoming year.