Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Holiday Reset

Indiana wanted to help raise money for a local youth organization; so, this past Thursday we wrapped gifts for people at the mall. 

“Business” was pretty dead, but after a while, a mother and son came up with gifts for us to wrap. 

Indy and I wanted to do a perfect job, so we showed them our wrapping paper selection, different box sizes, and a vast amount of decorative ribbons. 

“I love Christmas,” the boy said, handing me a gift for his mother. 

Christmas isn’t always “jolly” for me. In fact, since I’ve had cancer it’s even more stressful than normal. We’ve been extra worried about money, and I hardly have enough energy to go shopping. Still, I glanced up and smiled, setting a red bow in place.

“Christmas, huh?” I said “What do you like about it?”

He grinned, exhibiting the kind of excitement only a young adult can have. “I love the tree,” he said. “And I LOVE presents.”

“Right?” I finished wrapping the gift for his mother. Now it was time for me to wrap what she’d bought for him. “What did you get last year?” I asked him.

“A pair of pants! We each get one whole gift every year.” His eyes sparkled. “I can hardly wait for Christmas.”

I blinked. It seemed unbelievable that a person his age could show so much gratitude—for one, small gift.

His mom took the break in our conversation as a chance to hand me his gift. She’d left it in the bag—so he couldn’t see—and winked as she handed it to me as if it were pure gold.

These two honestly baffled me. I turned, and I’m still not sure why, but so many emotions overwhelmed me as I spotted the gift she’d bought for her son this year. I’d opened the bag to find…a simple pair of pants. 

“Wrap it in white,” she whispered, “with a red bow. He’ll love that.”

After Indy finished wrapping the dad’s simple gift, we just stared at each other so amazed by this family and their excitement over such small items. “I guess it’s not small to them,” Indy said.

“And that’s what’s so humbling…. Some people don’t have much at all. But look,” we watched them, “they’re some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen.”

“Me too,” Indy agreed.

As we watched the mother and son, Indy hugged me so tightly. “I’m glad we know what matters, too.”

I studied my beautiful, baby girl, wrapped my arms around her, and thought that I have so much more than I could’ve ever hoped for.

Mike and I celebrated Christmas with the kids on Friday (they spend one holiday a year with their bio dad, and it happens to be Christmas this year). I felt stunned to see how happy our kids are over whatever they receive! We had people generously make our Christmas wonderful. We got anonymous gifts, some money in the mail, and even a massive gift basket that completely shocked us! But I do have to say that the thing we’re most grateful for is each other. 

“I know it’s hard,” my oldest daughter said, giving me a huge hug. “But you have to keep fighting. Okay, Mom. You can’t give up!”

I hugged her back and nodded. “I will! I promise. Ruby, I want to be with all of you—for as long as I can.”

It’s crazy how quickly cancer put life in perspective.

Anyway, I wanted to wish all of you a very, merry Christmas! I hope you have exactly what you need this holiday season! And I hope you’ll have the eyes to see the beauty that surrounds you—no matter how big or small.

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