As Christmas quickly approaches, it is the perfect time for a favorite holiday memory blog hop hosted by Janie Junebug and Cherdo on the Flipside! I confess, I didn’t even start to ponder this until the last minute, but as I thought about it, I don’t think I can come up with a better memory than one I posted a couple of years ago on my old blog. If you’ve read it before, I apologize, but if not, I hope you enjoy it:
My dad was a master present-giver. Every year, without fail, there was always a bounty of presents under our painstakingly-decorated tree. No matter what else was happening, no matter how poor we were, and we were definitely poor at times, he always found a way to Santa-tize our house.
On the really special years, his signature move came after all the presents under the tree had been opened. He would sit there, looking dissatisfied, until we asked him what was wrong. He would reply that it seemed like something was missing. Then, sly grin on his face, he would reach into a hidden spot, saying, “it looks like there’s one more.” And then he would pull out an amazing, surprise present for each of us.
The Christmas after he died? He managed to do it one last time.
He passed in November that year and I was still living with my step-mom when Christmas rolled around. We hadn’t put up a tree or decorated and didn’t really plan to do much celebrating. It was hard to have holiday spirit when the one who carried the Christmas torch was missing.
We each had bought a present for the other and sat down in our bare living room to open them. After I appreciated my new purse and she her new sweater, my step-mom said, “‘Wait, there’s one more.” She reached behind the end table, and pulled out a small box.
“This is from your dad,” she said.
I stared at her, about to ask how that could be, when she continued, “He ordered it for you before he died.”
Instantly tearful, I took the box from her, and opened it. Inside was a bracelet to match the necklace my dad had given to me for my birthday that year.
From a jewelry line based on the “Footprints in the Sand” poem, it had a little heart with small footprints walking through the center. All I could think of as I gazed at the bracelet was the last line of the poem:
“…My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”
My dad had died unexpectedly from a heart attack, so he hadn’t bought it knowing how meaningful it would end up being to me. He had just been doing what he loved to do…buying me a special present. Even through my tears, I couldn’t help but smile as I imagined my dad sitting there with us, smirking in satisfaction at pulling off that last, surprise Christmas gift.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!
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