When I was out running errands yesterday I stopped for a cup of coffee and a calming piece of biscotti in one of my favourite cafésI wasn’t feeling particularly interested enough in humanity yesterday to indulge in my favourite café pastime of people watching, and I wasn’t interested in the various newspapers that hung temptingly on the newspaper stand beside the revolving door. I opened my bag and took out my Nintendo DS, put my earplugs on, and was soon lost in Nintendo-World.

When my coffee and biscotti arrived I put my DS away and leaned back in my chair to sip my coffee, leaving the DS inside its pale pink matching case which was open, as you see in the picture above. I used to have stickers of all the Mario characters there along with Luigi and Peach, but the rest parted company with the case. I also have the Disney Gamer sticker label that claims that yes, I’m a gamer.

The stickers (all of them, including the Disney label) were all gifts that my (then) seven-year old godson got me. He insisted on ‘decorating’ my Nintendo case with them, and I’ve never taken them off. I haven’t actually thought about them for a long time.

Two young women walked past my table to sit at a neighbouring table; I noticed one of them shoot my DS an amused glance, before smiling and turning to her companion. In tones that were loud enough to reach me she said the following words: What adult carries a Disney label on their game case?

As they tittered together, I pretended I hadn’t heard them. I went back to my gaming and didn’t pay them any more attention. But later, when I unpacked my groceries at home, I wished I’d said something.

I’d have said, ‘The sort of adult who has a child in her life.’

Children give presents based on what they think the adult humans in their lives will love. To Ben, his present to me made perfect sense. They were stickers of Nintendo characters; he and I had spent hours playing his beloved Mario Kart in the past. He wanted me to have them. The Disney sticker label was probably his, but he gave it to me. He was endlessly generous, in my opinion, because it would have looked just as cool on his Nintendo case, or his backpack.

I have a box filled with things the children in my life have given me; some of those children are children I used to babysit, or whom I was a nanny to. I have Gabriella’s feather. I have Dylan’s ‘diamond’. I have Paige’s cards. I have Elspeth’s paintings. I have Anaina’s ‘paperweight’. I have Grace’s ‘recipe’. I have countless other presents from countless children. They each of them have a story; they each of them were given with love. They each remind me of eager little faces, hot little hands, pressing something into mine with the words ‘This is for YOU, Tawa’.

So, the next time you see a man wearing a hideous paper tie, or a woman wearing a business suit paired with a cheap plastic brooch, or a teenage girl wearing a band on her head that is clearly too young for her, or a woman with a Disney sticker label on her Nintendo case, step back and think for a second. Know that the children in their lives gave it to them, and that they wear and display those things for the love of a child.