Family Putting Up Christmas Tree Enjoying Holiday Time

Your Christmas Present

I thought I’d send you a Christmas present before the big day. Take time to read this. Then maybe read it again and share it with others who may need it.

It was snowing and slippery and busy and hectic. The week before Christmas and Libby and I decided to get some shopping done at the mall. As a typical husband, I see “shopping” as another way of saying “buying,” meaning, hit the mall hard, split the list in two, and buy-buy-buy until the objective is achieved. Then before the VISA card has time to cool down, hit the exit hard, dive into the vehicle and drive! drive! DRIVE!

The women I have known seem to see shopping in a much different way—as a time to leisurely peruse sale racks and displays, hefting, measuring, examining and comparing. It is perfectly acceptable to not actually buy anything until the right price and value are found.

Well, as you can imagine, with two different ideas of what shopping means, we got separated. This was before the days of cell phones (hard to believe!) and although the story is old, the memory is vivid:

I was cooling my heels at the exit vestibule most likely to produce Libby, rocking back and forth, trying not to be impatient. The woman across from me looked like she was feeling the same way. I would put her in her 80s. A farm wife, I figured. Her coat was of the practical type, her hair piled up and stuck through with a pencil, her posture capable and her eyes sparked with intelligence and frustration.

“You waiting for someone?”

She puffed her cheeks and blew off some steam in frustration, “My kids! They waste time buying stuff I don’t need and they can’t afford.

“Well, I guess it’s their way of including you—to show you that they love you.”

She considered that. “Yeah, I suppose. Trouble is, they got things to do and places to be, and it’s like I am with them but not a part of them, not like it was when we were younger.”

She pointed a finger at me. “You kids don’t know how good you got it!”

I thought about that and asked, “What was the best part?”

She knew what I meant and her answer was immediate, “My husband. We were partners. Did everything together. He drove me crazy sometimes, but, well, like I said, kids just don’t know how good they got it.”

About then, Libby came around the corner, loaded with packages. “Sorry, I’m late! I lost track of the time.” Before she could say another word, I gave her a big hug and a kiss.

“What was that for?”

I opened the door and we headed off into the hectic Christmas season. “Nothing. I just don’t do that often enough.”

Christmas contains many of our most cherished memories. Past Christmases are past, and the Christmases of tomorrow may not be ours. This season, make sure to collect a few more stories, a few more pictures, a few more memories. They are, after all, your Christmas present.