I was attending the university in the mid 90’s earning my degree in English/ American Literature, and still lived with my parents. I was in my last semester of academics getting ready to begin my student teaching requirement in January. We were not allowed to hold any kind of job for the 16 week period because we had to “work” full time as an intern. I was excited at starting this new “job”, however, the idea of not having money worried me.
On Christmas morning, my mother handed me my stocking and it was filled with envelopes. Each envelope was marked with a month, “January”, “February”, “March”, “April” and the words, “Do not open until” written above the month. I was allowed to open the first one marked “January” and inside was some cash, 2 movie tickets, and a gift card to a restaurant.
I was thrilled that I would be able to continue my social life, even though I wasn’t earning any money. The best part was with each new month, I could open the next envelope and see what new treasures awaited inside. Each month there was money, tickets to the movies or an event, and restaurant gift cards. It was a holiday gift that kept on giving through the month of March when I finished my student teaching.
I kept those envelopes all these years to remind myself how well my mother knew what I needed during that time in my life. No Barbie doll, sweater, bicycle ever gave me as much pleasure as the year of the envelopes.