After several attempts, we managed to link up with Steffen this afternoon. He had persisted about calling Walker trying to make a date to go to a movie and exchange gifts. Walker was not feeling particularly generous this year and had only bought Steffen one of those musical cards. I added a gift card for movies and a little cash to it.
Steffen had bought Walker two movies from his limited income, but Walker was a bit less than gracious about them. They weren’t on his wish list. Of course this became a teaching opportunity on how to show appreciation on the way home.
As I drove them to the movie I asked Steffen about his family and found out that he had had no contact from his mother since about a week before Christmas, and that his sister “ran out of time and didn’t make it” to see him either. I believe he spent Christmas alone and didn’t get a gift from either. “It’s okay, ‘cause I have enough money to buy little things anyway,” he explained to me.
After the movie we talked a bit more about Christmas and he pointed out that a couple of years ago his mother had taught him to be grateful he had a roof over his head. He had remembered that comment this year when he was tempted to feel sorry for himself. One of his friends was having trouble finding a place to live because she’s schizophrenic and at least he had a roof over his head.
I wish I had gotten Steffan a real gift and made sure he had it on Christmas Day. It probably would have meant more to me than to him, and it wouldn’t have made his mother’s ignoring him hurt any less, but I would have felt less guilty when I heard his story. I’m glad I made the effort to take him to a movie and plan to do it more often this year.
I’m going to be glad I have a roof over my head next time I’m feeling sorry for myself too.