Whatever you celebrate, however you celebrate, etc., I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season. My husband and I actually braved the roads to get down to my folks’ house in Iowa and made it without trouble. The only mishap – if you would call it that – is that I didn’t finish Christmas shopping before I went to my folks’ house. Which meant going to Walmart on Christmas Eve. And gift cards for my nephews … But considering the great time I got to spend with my three youngest nephews, I think that I’ll be forgiven for giving them crappy gifts.
But when I look back on all the wonderful gifts that were given over the holiday – and truly, I am so blessed to have such thoughtful family members – what I’ll remember from this particular Christmas is something that money didn’t buy. And if my mom knew that this was going to stand out for me, she’d probably shake her head and chalk it up to me being a contrary daughter.
My old bedroom recently became my nephew’s bedroom. Jordan is from my brother’s first marriage and typically spends his weekends with my parents and since he is 14, older than his little brothers and chained to his cell phone, it was time to give him his own space. My mom slapped a “wildlife” border (hunter colors – greens, browns – deer all over, etc.) over the old one with flowers and hearts that marked my teenage days, put a couple deer pictures up on the wall and changed out my old chenille bedspread for one that is an ugly, boyish plaid and poof! My old bedroom – once my refuge – is now my nephew’s kingdom. And I couldn’t be happier for him, because although the little guys have good hearts, they tend to break stuff. That’s just what little boys do.
In the process of turning my baby blue bedroom into something worthy of a 14-year-old guy, my parents ended up packing a bunch of my stuff away for me to take home this weekend and deposit into my own household. (If my parents had only charged rent … 🙂 ) And while I was going through a basket that had a bunch of my old hats in it and a cast off pair of hiking boots (too small and a mouse had made a home in it at one point …), I found this white, three-ring binder. I don’t remember if my mom put it out when I graduated from high school or where it came from, but in the pages my folks had stored every program from every concert I had ever participated in. News clippings from the various activities I had been a part of in junior high and high school. Treasured postcards that my grandparents had wrote to me over the years – and trust me – the people who wrote these postcards are no longer on this earth, to read my Grandma Sophie’s writing: “I love you, Jesus loves you too, honey.” This woman died when I was six years old, those postcards were written to me while she was undergoing experimental cancer treatment in Mexico … I cannot tell you how much I loved my parents as I paged through every memory that they had clung to while I was growing up.
So while this physical reminder makes me feel so blessed, there’s a gift that is underneath the old ribbons from county fairs – that’s the gift of time. Not just the time that it took my parents to assemble this book of memories, but the fact that they were there for every badly tuned band concert, every play – whether I was in the chorus or actually had a part. My folks were there for the moments, big and small – and to be honest? That’s one of the greatest gifts of all.
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