Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gift Of The Magi

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

three generations.

For as long as I can remember, my brother, sister and I woke up every Christmas morning to three gifts under the tree from Santa. I never questioned Mother as to why she did this, but it was a tradition that my sister and I carried on with our children and now they do the same with theirs. Maybe it had to do with the Three Wise Men bringing gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh to the Christ child on that cold winter's night that was so deep. It's a lovely tradition and one I continue to do.
We lost our daddy shortly before Thanksgiving 1988. It was an unexpected blow and our world was shattered....he was only 64.

I was beyond consolation and did nothing to get ready for Christmas except put up a sad, little tree. My heart was elsewhere that year. I hadn't even begun to do any shopping and it looked like my children would get up to an empty tree. My sweet sister, who was feeling her own deep moments of grief, showed up at my door one night just two days before Christmas. She told me to get my coat, purse and checkbook. She literally drug me to the mall and helped me make gift selections for the family. All the while, gently nudging me onward and forward, she checked each name off the list. She checked and double-checked to make sure there were at least three gifts for Joey and Jenn before she brought me home...her work complete.

My grief was no stronger than hers...my devastation no deeper and yet she provided the strength I didn't have. We were both hurting, lost souls and yet...she carried me when we both needed carrying. She loved me more than herself. I could never in my wildest dreams selected a gift for myself that would ever surpass hers. The memory of it is one of my most treasured possessions.

Joey and Jenn never knew about the "Christmas that almost wasn't" because of Kerri. Those gifts under the tree in 1988 remain some their favorites, perhaps because each was tied with an aunt's..and a sister's...unending love.

26 comments:

Auntie Joy said...

Love my sisters like they were my own babies. Glad I have 2! And their babies... and then even their babies! Nothing more precious!
JOY!

Olive Cooper said...

What a touching Christmas story. Bless her heart and yours. ♥O

Malisa said...

Awwww, girlfriend! You just made me cry and that is not an easy thing to do! What an unbelievably beautiful Christmas story filled with unconditional love! I love your sweet face in those vintage pics. The absolute best photo is the one of your father surrounded by all who loved him! Girl, thank goodness for the strength of your sister. That is what families are for. Believe me, I am very appreciative that you are part of my very special extended family! Love and peace to your and yours this Christmas. May you feel the love of your father this Christmas and every Christmas.

MALisa

vintagesusie & wings said...

Love your Christmas story friend & the photographs are wonderful! The true spirit of Christmas shines so brightly through your memories, love of family..the greatest gift of all!!!
Big hugs,
Susie

mudpies and marigolds said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing from your heart.
-Aaron

Diane Costanza said...

I am trying to suppress tears here at work as I read this. My brothers are currently in a verbal war that has the family all shook up. I am having everyone at my home for Christmas and I am at a loss how to get them back on good terms. Your post gave me some good ideas, including a picture of the three of us on Santa's lap. I need to somehow remind them that family is ALL we have and ALL we need. Your sister is an angel and God bless you both this Christmas!

Diane

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

I've got the chills here, Debbie.
How sweet/thoughtful of your sister.
I love your photos, they're full of love.
I remember the first Christmas w/out my dad too and this year, we're without my step-dad and each day that gets closer gets a little harder during the Christmas prep.

I love this post, you know.
xo~Tracie

Sassy Marsha said...

What a loving post and I so enjoyed the photos!!! Loving memories.

I remember Christmases with my mother and my aunts and uncles who are no longer with us. Okay, now I'm starting to blubber, LOL

xxoo

Gracie's Cottage said...

What a precious memory!

Jan

The Primitique said...

Uh huh. Here I am. Hi! I'm doing some catching up on my reading and you got me good on this one. You KNOW family is up there on my list of what is important. Perhaps, that is what brings me to love you and yours so much. Thank you for sharing this story of love. Hugs. ~Mindy

Olde Tyme Marketplace said...

You are one in a million!
Beth :0)

Prior said...

What a sweet memory...the love of a family continuing on through the generations.
Lezlee

Shabby Vintage Junk said...

Deb I swear....Your posts run my emotions from the lightest to the heaviest....I've brayed like a donkey at some of your antics & reminiscences & then....There are times like NOW when I've sat blinking at the screen with a lump in my throat & tears in my eyes at your words....How FABULOUS for you to have such a WONDERFUL Sister as Kerri....I'm SO glad you had her strength to lean on when you lost your dear Dad....No doubt YOU have provided that EXACT same strength to her along the way....!!

THANK YOU for sharing these memories & pics....!!

Cheers for now your Aussie Mate,
Tamarah :o)

Hayley said...

Beautiful writing, Debbie. You've so poignantly captured such a powerful moment. What a gift for words you have...

vintage girl at heart said...

aww what a wonderful gift she gave you that year...being loved is the best gift in the whole wide world!!
you make me smile and cry at the same time..i'm just silly like that.
blessings~

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a special memory of Christmas and for being such a special sister. I love you, too! Kerri

Laura said...

These are vintage Christmas memories Debbie-the best kind.

I don't have a sister-
I can only imagine.

Plus I thought (because I didn't know you had a sister)
Thank you God-
there are two of them.

LB

Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig said...

Nothing stronger than the love of family, except the love of Christ.
Your sister showed you both.

Ninny said...

Beautiful...brought tears to my eyes. I lost my dad last year right before Thanksgiving. My sis and I had spent two weeks prior to his passing by his side, taking care of him until he took his final breath. The day after his funeral, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house for 14 people and I still don't know how I managed that. It was all surreal. Holidays are hard, but there is joy in the love of family gathered around to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Merry Christmas!
Liz

Beth Leintz said...

You are lucky lucky lucky to have a sister.

Ruby Grace's said...

What a wonderful story and tribute to your wonderful sister! You are both lucky to have each other.
Denis

Sue said...

The absolutely PERFECT post for this time of year! Thannks, we probably all needed it!

Take care, Sue

A Cottage Muse said...

Truly a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I say "what would we do without FAMILY and friends like you Debra, that give us encourage-ment,hope and the will to carry on when our
inner light has grown dim.
I think that you are a "gift" to all of us.
Thanks for always turning up the flame.

grace

Cottage Panache said...

Deb, thank you for sharing such a sweet and loving life story! I lost my Daddy in 91, before my last two children were ever born. At least we have our memories of Dad to tell our own children about their Paw Paws!
Love to you and yours
Maureen

Debra@Common Ground said...

Oh, I just LOVE this!!