I wouldn’t have used this color in the wildest color scheme-a garish yellow that takes on a greenish tint when the light strikes it just right. But here it is, in sharp contrast to the muted red cover of my diary, a child’s shiny yellow rose sticker. Of all of the gifts I have ever received, I have treasured this one more than most.
Thinking back, I can’t remember what my little sister had said that had gotten me in such a tizzy. All I remember is that she had been complaining, and I had lectured her severely. I hadn’t gone so far as enumerating every woe that the least fortunate child in the world might be experiencing at that very moment, but I had come close. After demanding an apology, I turned back to my book.
A few quiet moments had passed when I heard rustling. I refused to look up. I wanted my little sister to feel the full effect of my righteous exasperation. Let her stew, I thought.
The rustling continued. I willed myself to stay put, but I couldn’t help wondering what was absorbing her so completely. Another few moments passed, and then the patter of footsteps came up behind me. They stopped. Silence.
I refused to look up from my book, but from the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of her hand pushing an envelope onto the desk next to me. She turned and ran from the room.
Curious, I flipped open the envelope. Something impossibly yellow tumbled onto my lap. It was a rose sticker. I flipped it over, and there in a five-year-old’s handwriting were the words, “I’m sorry. I love you.”
In a preschooler’s barter economy, stickers are precious. And this was no ordinary sticker. Considering that to a child’s way of thinking, bigger is better, the brighter the better, and shiny is best of all, this big shiny rose sticker that had fallen into my lap had undoubtedly been the prize of her collection.
I sat stunned for a moment at her boundless ability to love me despite my ornery self-centeredness. I found her, hugged her, and told her I was sorry.