This story has been on my mind for the past few days. I’m not quite sure why, but thought I would share it. Some background I need to share first is that Christmas is always a very big deal at my mom’s house. It always has been. Mom raised three kids as a single mom and it always meant a lot to her to give us a nice, magical Christmas. But as we got older rarely did she surprise us with our gifts. She would ask us earlier what we wanted and that was always what we got, with a few smaller things we hadn’t asked for thrown in. Correct me if I’m wrong, mom, but I think it was her way of making sure Christmas was special, by making sure we got the gifts we asked for. And we just inherently knew what was too outrageous to ask for so what was asked for was always reasonable. Well, on this particular year I was in college, finished with my pre-requisite classes and actually going onto my nursing major classes in January and knew I was going to have even more papers to write for school. I commented to my sister, Cindra, that I would love to have a word processor for Christmas to make my papers easier to write. (At that time PCs were still pretty expensive for the average joe to have in his house.) But I knew at that time even word processors weren’t cheap, so I never expected to actually get it and asked mom for something else, something smaller, I forget now exactly what. And now on with the story…

The setting is Christmas morning 12 years ago, the whole family gathered in mom’s living room around the Christmas tree eating our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of oven omelet and croissants and taking our time opening presents one by one. My niece, CL, was 3 and was “playing Santa Claus” handing out presents. My nephew, R, was only six months old and spent most of the day sleeping. CL said to her Grandma, “Gramma, Auntie Brooke doesn’t have very many presents under the tree.” Grandma replied that auntie Brooke could just help R open his gifts since he was too small to be opening them himself. As everyone has opened a few presents and we’re all having a wonderful time mom suggests to CL that auntie Brooke help R open this large square box she’d told me earlier contained a rocking chair for him.

Not thinking much of the fact R isn’t even in the room, he’s sleeping in Grandma’s room, I begin to unwrap this gift. Within a moment or two it became apparent mom had finally been able to surprise me. The box was actually my new word processor! I couldn’t stop smiling and giggling with glee and surprise. I really couldn’t believe mom had splurged so much on one single present. I later found out after Cindra told her what I would really like to have she spoke with Cindra and our brother and they agreed it was fine with them if she did that for me. I was thrilled to know just how supportive my family was of my education. Their support was as much of a gift as the word processor. That word processor got me through the last 2 and a half years of college and countless papers. I treasured it and treasure the memory of that Christmas.