Sunday, December 3, 2006

Remembering Presents

There are some Christmas presents I've received that stand out in my memory in one way or another. I remember getting a world globe from Grama and Grampa Bagley. I loved it! I think I was 9, and I studied it, and planned all the places I wanted to go. It was truly a gift of dreams.

The year I was 8 we opened all our presents in the big room in the basement, and then came upstairs and Mom was making thinnies. Suddenly from the living room came the sound of Dad playing a piano. He was playing our favorite, "In the Mood"! I ran in to see our beautiful, new piano, and there was a green piece of sheet music, "White Christmas" on it. I was so thrilled! We loved to hear our dad play the piano at our Grama's house and now we would hear him play every day. I got a bride doll in a big pink trunk, with lots of doll clothes. My mom had made me and my doll several matching outfits for Christmas, and once I fixed her beautiful comb-able hair into a matching bed-head look, we were twins! I loved getting a brownie camera when I was 10. It had a little tag that said "Open me first", so I could use all my pop in flash bulbs to record our Christmas celebration. It was my first grown up type gift.

The real money was probably spent on expensive ski equipment, and clothes over my teen-age years, but I can't really remember anything specific except our Bassett Hound puppy, Flower, when I was 11. She was the kind of new baby we all got excited about, except probably mom. A few years later I had a boyfriend, Bob, give me an unfortunate gift when I was 16. It was a real ruby ring, with a diamond on each side. It was in lieu of a real engagement ring and I wore it with all the joy of a newly betrothed girl, until a couple of weeks later when he had to reclaim it. His parents had discovered he had stolen it, and it needed to be returned to the store. The excitement kind of leaked out of that one.

The first year I was married I remember vividly: We had set aside $15 to spend on each other. Our tree had no lights and we used Christmas cards and popcorn strands to decorate it. Everyday Dee picked pyracantha berries and strung them into little wreaths to surprise me when I got home from work. Overnight they would wither, so he did it every day until Christmas to keep them fresh and pretty. He gave me an art book about our favorite artist (Bruegel) and a small hymn book with my name on it, an oyster colored slip, and some long fireplace matches so we could light our heater and stove without burning off our fingers. We look back on that Christmas with such sentimental tenderness, because of the purity of our Christmas giving.

A few years later the kids went shopping on their own, and I recieved a compact of foundation, in the color a black woman might wear. Josh had picked it and given it so excitedly! Gabi had chosen my favorite cherry chocolates, but as she read the list of ingredients she saw the word "liquor" and immediately hurried it out to the garbage can, so I wouldn't unknowingly break the Word of Wisdom. By that time the personalities our kids were developing were the most fun gifts we could have dreamed of, and we started getting them regularly. Hmmmm... My ambien is beginning to kick in and the profound conclusions I was going to draw are drifting around in a very cottony feeling brain. I'm sure there are a lot of great lessons here, but I'll let you think about your own Christmas Present experiences and find the lessons yourselves.

I will end with an invitation to make a visit to Memory Lane during the Christmas season. You'll probably find yourself going alone, but you'll meet up with some of the best people you've ever known. You'll enjoy everything you see, gain perspective, re-discover gratitude, feel a swelling of love for dear friends and family, count your blessings, and experience peace for a while. That's a pretty good Christmas present!

No comments: