It was the first, but the best, green pentagon and red square sandwich that I will ever eat. Blue American Cheese. Yellow Oval Ham...
"Thank you!" I said, after each shape she placed into my hands. A pile toppling over with love.
The little one with lime green glasses that magnified her big brown eyes laughed wildly with every addition to the Colossal Plastic Sandwich.
In that moment, I knew a thing or two as true: 'Thank you' is the very best phrase in the world.
When not dissecting issues of poverty and human trafficking at the UN briefings, I volunteer as a master of wiping noses and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. A substitute preschool teacher.
As we all know by now, I have a huge chunk of my heart carved out to serve as a treasure chest for the pearls of wisdom that come my way. A third to the pearls of wisdom series, I would love nothing more than to show you all what I have gathered from the classrooms filled with three-foot tall gurus and little life coaches wearing Children's Place sweat suits.
'Thank you' is the very best phrase in the world.
Compliment people whenever you can. No one opposes being told that they are pretty & beautiful, or that they look like a princess.
Take time to learn the names of others. Better that you ask twice than to go on not knowing.
Marvel at the world around you and then ask questions. Never stop asking questions. Never demand answers though.Take pleasure in that uncertainty.
Another note on marveling, marvel at the seasons and how they change. How the leaves shimmy out of their summer wear to find a Garb of Golden Colors. Shimmy away from your old self as well. Reinvent yourself, start fresh. Make fall your own personal New Year.
Bring extra smiles in your pocket wherever you go, extend them to whoever is in need today.
Along with bringing smiles, bring a sweater for when the temperature decides to play limbo. You will be grateful when the goosebumps come..
Carve out time to sit with a good book each day, even if you only read a chapter or two. Open your eyes up to the possibility that sits restless on the pages of a bound beauty.
And remember, 'Thank you' is the very best phrase in the world.
Ask people about their favorite color. They won't be expecting it but they will wonder, as they continue their subway commute or writing over a cup of brew, when is the last time that I really thought about the color yellow?
The key to beauty is not a popular shade of lipstick or the best hairdo. Wear laughter, a good smile and an internal glow and the world will wonder how you hold the word "beautiful" so well.
Be good to your friends; save them spots in line, put your arm around them and leave the extra animal crackers for them.
Speaking of animal crackers, take time to bite off the arms and then the legs and then head, as we all did when we were three feet tall. Indulge in the Elephants. Debate: Is it a hippo or a rhino?
High Fives are a universal language. High Fives are a language all of their own.
Grasp onto universal phrases: Please. I love you. Good Job! Thank you.
After all, 'thank you' is the very best phrase in the world.
Once in a while, more the while than the once, treat the world as if it were your playground. Find your own set of monkey bars in this world, whether it be a run on the beach or a night by the fire. Smile inward the whole way through.
As we grow older, we encounter less then person who has forgotten their snack for the day. Find the person who is missing something today: a companion, a hot meal, a loved one. Comfort them.
If you admire someone, tell them. If you miss someone, tell them. Tell them. Tell them. Tell them.
Sometimes we all need a time out. Sit quietly, (hands in the lap is optional) and think about how to reenter the world in a more positive and constructive way.
"No Llores," is a golden phrase, "No tears." No tears.
But of all the phrases, 'thank you' is the very best phrase in the world.
Find the silliness in love & crushes. Giggle over them. Tell them you like their sneakers. Sneak a hand hold before the end of the day.
Make it your mission to find a killer accessory that completes every outfit, whether it be a big white bow or a chunky bangle. Leave people thinking about that one accessory, but moreso, the person who wore it well.
Send gratitude up to heaven for allowing God to let you read these words. Reading is a great privilege. Being able to find meaning between the sewn "A"s and "K"s of this world is a great blessing. One that we too often take for granted.
Never wish a moment away. Fair warning: It won't come tumbling back towards you. It will be lost for good.
Talk about what you love: your mom, your cat, your Dora backpack. Give words and hand motions to whatever you love deeply in this world.
Stick close to the true friends in this world. The ones who run to hug you after a 12-hour separation, the ones who write you letters often and make you wish the word "separation" never existed.
Glow a little bit over your accomplishments. Look back for one reason only: to see how very far you have come. But don't become too prideful. Rejoice in Every Step.
Turn on the music, your favorite song to be precise and sing. Sing loud. Sing softly. Lip sync or scream. Look up the lyrics, even if you know them by heart, and follow them the whole way through. Let your mind ruminate over every word.
Take every encounter to meet new people as if it were a puddle given graciously to you on a rainy day. Jump in it. Laugh over it. Kiss the skies for it.
Speaking of puddles, own a pair of rain boots that speak to you. And actually use those boots, yes, jump in puddles. I repeat, Jump In Puddles.
Realize that you are not too old and you are not too young, you are perfect just the way you are.
And one final thing, remember, no matter if you are 4-years-old or 68, 'thank you' is the very best phrase in the world.
Want to trade pearls on this beautiful fall morning?
Share your own here.