January 2, 2010

At Least I Didn't Howl

I sat in my rocker with a pile of handwritten notes in my lap, lingering over each word as I read. The tears started delicately at first, and I could wipe each one from the corner of my eye in a ladylike fashion. When I had to take my glasses off, however, I knew I was a goner.

My favorite gift for my family every Christmas is filling their homemade stockings. Amy carefully pieced together 5 more this year to include my grandchildren and foster daughter. Along with setting up the nativity set and the tree, this is a tradition we could never let go of (I’ve been told).

This year they filled my stocking. Boy, did they fill it! They gave me the best gift of all – their words of love:

“From doctor (caring for scraped knees and bruised egos), to chef (tamale pie, pork chops and sauerkraut), to cheerleader/videographer/photographer (you’ve captured so many cherished memories), to spiritual guide. You’ve done an amazing job showing us the right path in life without forcing us down it.”

“Thank you for a simple life of peace on a hill in the country. You were content to do without some things to stay at home and raise our children, and you did a great job of it.”

“Dad wants me to be eloquent and flowery, but what I have to say is simple: I love you. You are an amazing woman and you are setting a wonderful example of walking by faith for me. Thank you.”

“You are so gracious and kind. I don’t remember ever hearing you say an unkind word. Even when I thought you had a good reason.”

“Your willingness and desire to always get down on our level (and later, on our kids’ level) and really interact is a good example of the way I think God would spend time with us.”

I was pretty much a snotty mess by the time I got through them all. I looked at each one and thanked them through my tears. Thanks be to God for these moments!

I have periodically asked God to make my family forget my mistakes, but maybe that’s not his plan. Perhaps instead, he allows them to see my frailty so they can recognize his work in me. That’s ok with me! It was also ok that they didn’t mention too many of them in their Christmas notes.